Chances are you’ve heard of the Cavalier boys. Brewers Andrew Cronin, Steve Martin (cousins who have been home brewing together for 15 years) and Heath Shirtcliffe (sales master) recently launched Cavalier Courage; a beer they crafted on behalf of home-brew enthusiast and recently-diagnosed motor neuron disease sufferer Ian Davis to raise funds for MND research. The media attention was huge, and deservedly so. Courage doesn’t just serve a good cause, it’s a really delicious beer.
The trio have put the finishing touches on their own self-financed brewery in the charmingly named suburb of Derrimut. Which is a story equally compelling for any desk-loathing beer enthusiast, because just two years ago, Cronin and Martin were home brewers themselves – the former, an engineering graduate, the latter working the 9-5 grind.
So how does that happen? “A friend wanted to put our beers on tap at their bar” says Martin, “so we got a license and it went from there.” They began brewing out of a 100-litre set up in Pasco Vale (the brew house has a capacity of 3000-litres). Martin says, “it was basically our home brewing kit that we turbo charged, but we quickly outgrew it.” That's mostly thanks to Shirtcliffe, who Martin befriended five years ago in a dog park over breed and brew chat (naturally), and who took it upon himself to pimp that beer.
It worked. So well in fact that they quickly outgrew their basic setup, and turned to gypsy brewing – aka borrowing tank space from any breweries who would let them in. “We were constantly knocking on doors, and running out of stock,” says Martin, who as of October quit his job to go on the Cavlier clock full time. “We’re brewing the Brown Ale first – it sells well even in summer because it’s a light style. But we really want to get into sour beer, and craft lager!”
Many a brewer could be jealous of the almost instant success of Cavalier. But they’re just such enthusiastic and nice guys (they’re putting in extra tanks to accommodate other gypsy brewers), making such great beer, you can’t help be as happy for them as they are for themselves. The first batches hit shelves in March.