The conversion beer series started after a conversation amongst friends, and had one of our regular contributors, Matt, writing the first one. The original intention was to have Chas write the next one, but beer buddies jumped on board very quickly with their own stories. So finally, for our fifth conversion beer story, regular contributor, Chas, gets to tell his story! Fortunately though, this won’t be the last conversion beer story! We have a few more people lined up to tell us about that first craft beer that brought them to love the stuff.

This article is part of an ongoing series about “conversion beers” – the story of getting hooked on great craft beer. To see all articles, go here.

This is Chas’ conversion beer.

Firstly I’d like to say that it’s been really great reading the previous four conversion beer stories and working with the handful of craft beer drinkers to get their story out there. It was one of the reasons I started this website in the first place: to talk about beer not only in a blog format, but to connect with other beer drinkers.

I guess starting at the end of the story, my love of craft beer grew steadily over time. Not only have I been able to make some great friendships along the way, I eventually got so into craft beer that I started a website devoted to it! This was great as it combined three of my hobbies: web design, writing, and of course, beer. Once you tell people you have a beer website, it’s great to hear how supportive they are and to hear their thoughts on beer. I’ve also been privileged to curate a space where my friends are always welcome to contribute their own thoughts on beer as well as beer reviews.

So why am I starting at the end? Well, it was friendships with other people that brought me to a love of craft beer.

While craft beer has really come into its own in Australia, it was great for me that it really began to take shape around the time I got to legal drinking age. At university I was still drinking macro lagers, but it seemed something a bit different, something a bit better was starting to appear at pubs. Maybe I’m wrong on the timing of all of this though, maybe my tastes were just changing.

The “something a little bit different” really came down to the difference between a lager and an ale. Being a university student, we would just drink whatever was put in front of us, and that something was usually a cheap lager. Eventually that something became a Little Creatures or a Coopers Pale Ale. These were and still are great beers, but I’d hardly call Coopers craft beer any more…

But back to friends!

Going out with friends, we’d go for the craft stuff. One friend in particular, Mikey, who has never been known to do anything by half really helped push this love of craft beer more than anyone else. He, for example, is one friend who I’ve managed to find new friends through. All through the simple love of craft beer. And the more and more friends you get, the more and more you get into craft beer.

Through this time, with Mountain Goat being such a prominent Melbourne brewery, I couldn’t get enough of the stuff, especially their Hightale Ale. It was good and easy drinking. While something like Coopers replaced the macro lagers of the university years, Mountain Goat replaced the Coopers shortly after.

However, as I amble through this story, I’ve still avoided the main topic. Sure, I’ve mentioned some beers, but these weren’t the beers that got me really into craft beers. Even with Mountain Goat, I could say I was a craft beer drinker, but not a craft beer nut.

Then one night I decided to order a 2 Brothers Growler American Brown Ale while at a restaurant. I had never had this beer before… Something about that beer just stood out to me. It wasn’t my first craft beer and it surely wasn’t going to be my last.

Strangely, 2 Brothers Growler isn’t really my “go to” beer, it’s not even my favourite. If I’m at a craft beer bar and there’s lots to choose from, I usually order something other than the 2 Brothers, but I’ve found that if the 2 Brothers is on a more limited menu, or if I don’t want to take a risk, I always enjoy it.

That’s how I became a beer nut. I now feel justified in calling beer a “hobby.” And it’s a great hobby indeed…