Getting in to the Nitty Gristy with Dan Dainton

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I have to say, I have a serious soft spot for Dan Dainton. I genuinely site his brews as being one of the first craft beers that got me in to this insane game many years ago. His Red Eye Rye to me was just spectacular and I still love to drink it, it was a revelation to me. Since then, it has been an absolute joy to see Dainton Family Brewery grow over the years and see what has been coming from Dan’s addled mind. And it has all been good, damn good. His Insane Uncle IPA, Sinister Sister and Grand Pappy’s Whip Imperial Red stand out as some of my favourites, all which I have reviewed in the past.

With rumblings of Dan soon opening his own brewery and taproom in Carrum Downs and giving his labels a massive over haul and relaunch, I managed to catch up with Dan for a chat about where he thinks craft is going, his rye obsession and how his family plays a part in his brews.

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Where did your Brew Saga begin?
Along time ago, in a shed, far , far away… I was a young lad living my my uncle and Aunt after my father was betrayed by the empire and… Wait a second… He was never betrayed! You lied to my face Ben!
Oh, where… Shepparton, not unlike Mos Eisley, really…

How is the Dainton Family important to your brand? How has it influenced your brewing and style?
A lot of the time they provide me with great drinking stories and reasons to drink… What, no! I don’t condone that kind of behaviour. They are not unlike most families. There is always at least one weird one and a bratty one and a evil scientist etc etc. I want people to relate to that and feel sorry for me and in that moment of empathy, consume a beer crafted in the sorrows of inevitability of woe.

What was the beer that turned it all around for you?
A friend had come back from overseas, which was amazing for two reasons. 1. That he was allowed to travel overseas after the visa authorities saw Shepparton on his passport and 2. That he decided to come back to Shepparton. Anyway, he brought back a swag of beers we’d never seen and I was intrigued and mesmerized by the fact that you needed a special tool to remove the beer cap. “A bottle opener”, they called it. Astounding. We cracked open the beers and I was hooked. A crisp, herbaceous, bitter, floral and probably oxidized golden liquid poured into my gullet… It was the most exotic thing I had ever seen… A green bottled beer that didn’t taste like wet hay… My first international and inspirational beer… A Carlsburg.

What do you love about the job and the industry?
My job is convoluted and multifaceted, being the brewer and owner. I love making beers, tasting beers, talking beers, visiting breweries, designing labels and writing the crazed little bottle blurbs. Also the mandatory GBW break dancing and lifting fellow brewers over my head.
The industry is generally pretty exceptional in terms of people and passion. I will be interested to see how it copes with rapid growth of breweries and a possible lag of consumer education.

It’s present in pretty much all of your brews, so what’s with the rye obsession?
Rye not?

Where do you see craft beer and Dainton in 10 years?
In pharmacies, 7/11’s, vending machines, airport, planes, busses, on the moon, on Mars… We love what the West Coast of the USA has achieved so far and want to be a big part of where Australia needs to go. Which is right where the California and Oregon are. Growler fills at petrol stations, 10 breweries in tiny towns, Stone IPA tap rooms at airports. I want that. For all of us.

If you had a time machine, what part of brewing history would you go back to?
I’d go forwards. It’s only getting better.

What do you prefer, a fresh beer or an interesting beer?
Fresh IPA’s and hop driven beers are a big part of what I like to drink on a regular basis. Give me an oak-aged 3 year old barley wine and I’ll be pretty bloody stoked. I don’t want an oxidized or infected one… Needs to be in perfect condition.
I do get a little annoyed with the “drink local” mentality sometimes… I’d say drink what the bar staff recommend as fresh.

If someone asked you to put a six pack together for them, what would you put in it?
Do I like them?

YES
Pliney the Elder
Lost Abbey Track #10 Bat out of Hell
Crux Fermentation Galaxy IPA
Knappstein Lager
Spezial – Munich Lager
Pils Urquell Unfiltered and Unpaturized

NO
6 x bottles of my first batch of homebrew…

Dans Beer Hall of the Damned and Brewery will be opening early next year!