Almanac (Footy) Life: Home brewing and footy



One day in the home brewery (others call our garage), I got to thinking… each brew should have a proper identity, one that relates to footy. Why not footy jumper numbers of favourite players, or just memorable ones, with a definite leaning towards the Cats.


I got to work on it.  Brew number 1 (a lager) was rebadged the Roosy, no. 2 became the Denis Marshall, no. 3 (an Irish stout) the Jimmy Bartel, no. 4 (a pale ale) the ‘Doc, no. 5 (a Belgian ale) for ‘Polly’, no. 6 (a pilsner) the Gareth Andrews, and so on. You can see my bias. But the main thing in numbering my brews is spontaneity. It has to be instantaneous… the first player who fits the bill gets the credit.


When I got to number 15 (a Dutch lager) Malcolm Blight jumped off the page, then at number 22 (my old number – an IPA) the ‘Galloping Gasometer’ came straight to mind. Brew 29 (a milk stout) had to be the ‘Little Gary’, immediately followed by a must, the ‘Scarlo’ (an amber ale). You get the drift.


With the winter of 2020 approaching, I pondered… ‘why not choose a stout for a stout defender?’ So, when I kegged brew no. 34, whose name should enter the brewery, but Ross Henshaw (North Albury/ North Melbourne)? No, not Mick McGuane or David King or Ian Robertson or a string of other # 34s. Ross was not a Brownlow vote winner, but a reliable man and a great back up for North’s number 23, an earlier brew the David Dench.


My next brew was crafted in the dark midst of Covid during the late winter of 2020. Number 35 was bottled on a Sunday just before a Geelong v Swans game. It was a nut-brown ale, inspired by a fantastic little drop I tasted in the New England region on my return journey from the Sunshine State that year. Thinking footy, thinking home brew, thinking of numbers … it had to be the ‘Danger’ brew. And that afternoon it was number 35, Paddy Dangerfield who almost single handily willed the Cats across the line and back into the top four.


When my attention turned to the latest brew, No. 36, I decreed it was not going to be a Mexican-styled cerveza called ‘Corona’! Covid-19 did put a dampener on my brewing… until today. When brew # 36, an Irish Stout, was finally put in the vat. Who should it be? No, not Zach Tuohy, he missed out at brew #2 … it is none other than a short and stocky, speedy chap who was known to have a puff on his pipe at half-time … “The Tony Polinelli” will be ready for early sampling on a cold night in a month’s time.



But hang on! I panicked. Pretty soon I’m going to run out of numbers. Then I realised, thank heavens for ‘Lingy’, number 45 (it will have to be a red ale), you beauty! And I understand no. 82 was worn by a Richmond player in the 1920s. That will keep me brewing for a bit.


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  1. Peter, ‘beer o’ clock’ isn’t a bad time to close the working day.

    I’m wondering if bottle 32 was a dark beer in honour of David ‘Darky’ Harris?


  2. Excellent, and clever. Well played, Peter.

    I worked with a fellow who was a master home brewer. His brews were just superb. But he was imbibing far too frequently and his doctor advised him to cut right back on the grog. With that, he closed his brewery.

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