Interview with Max Haemmerle from Philter Brewing

We talked to Max Haemmerle from Philter Brewing about quality control in the brewing industry and how technology can help boost the creativity of brewers.


Oculyze: Can you tell us a few things about yourself and your role at Philter Brewing?
Max Haemmerle: My name is Max. I’m originally from Passau in Germany / Bavaria and I’ve been brewing for 15 years now. I started brewing back home in 2007 and after my apprenticeship I worked for two years as a brewer and started studying brewing and beverage technology in Munich, more precisely in Weihenstephan. Long story short, after five years of studying I kind of ended up in Australia. I started my journey down here in 2017 and have been here ever since enjoying it, and now I’m a head brewer at Philter Brewing in Marrickville.
Philter Brewing in Marrickville was established in 2017, but at the time when they started they only did so-called gypsy brewing, so they did contract brewing. They had their beer recipes, but they started brewing or getting their beers brewed in other breweries. Since 2020 the production facility in Marrickville in Sydney started brewing beer and I joined the team last year at the end of August – the start of September and I just pretty much took over as head brewer now because Sam, the former head brewer, is unfortunately leaving the company.
So, yeah, that’s the current situation and it’s good, I love it.

Oculyze: Your tagline is “Seductively Beer.” What, do you think, makes beer, in general, so seductive?
Max Haemmerle: I think because it’s just such an easy going drink, in general, and kind of speaks to every kind of people… I know there are obviously people out there that don’t drink beer so much, but I think the majority, I would say, they love drinking it and its variety – in beer styles and in ABV, so the strength of the alcohol and stuff – is so big that it makes it kind of, yeah, pretty much a seductive beverage. Its big variety makes it so interesting and you have so many possibilities to try different styles and create something new and I think it’s just such a widespread drink and there are so many facets to it, so it kind of makes it very appealing for everyone, I would say.

Oculyze: What sets apart the Aussie beer landscape from the rest of the beer world?
Max Haemmerle: I think Australia became a really big participant in the international craft beer industry. They, I would say, only started in the early 2000s, but they made themselves a really big name over the last 10-15 years. In Australia, they had this period where most people would drink craft beer from the United States, for example, but since Australia has been developing so many good craft breweries of its own and got really good quality, and got better in quality and kind of everything increased – better ingredients and better beers and consistency, now you don’t actually need foreign craft beers anymore. So we got our own craft beer world here now and, compared to other breweries around the world, out of other countries that brew beer, I think it’s just outstanding how quick Australia became a name in the whole industry worldwide.

Oculyze: You’re obviously a brewery that loves to experiment. What are your sources of inspiration for new products?
Max Haemmerle: I would say we obviously kind of go with the market. We look at what beers are people into at the moment, what styles do they like to drink. We don’t want to have easy drinking beers at the moment. So do they want to have hazy beers? Like hazy pales, hazy IPAs, a lot of hazy things are going on in the industry at the moment. And that’s what we’re obviously going after to kind of deliver in this section whatever the customer just loves to drink.
And, of course, apart from that, we come out with our own ideas and our own creative minds, because I’ve got very creative brewers I’m working with and, yeah, sometimes it’s as simple as doing a bit of brainstorming with your team and then, well, you pretty much come up with a recipe, create something and, yeah… that’s how it works!

Oculyze: Do you think that using technology for quality control can actually help boost the creative endeavors of brewers?
Max Haemmerle: Yeah, definitely! New technology obviously will push and change the endeavors of brewers, and if you want to become a really decent and consistent brewery, with good quality control and stuff, obviously you’ve got to introduce new technologies, or start using older technologies or just get a proper technical area set up. And I think, in saying that, when brewers realize that there’s so many things… “I can actually check the quality on the beer and get a good quality management”, I think that changes the whole consciousness of a brewer and how he wants to work with beer in the future.

Oculyze: What, would you say, have been the most noticeable positive impacts of using Oculyze in your brewery?
Max Haemmerle: We’ve obviously experienced it being very handy, because it’s a very handy tool to use. If you don’t quite want to use a normal microscope, you can just do it very handy with a laptop or a notebook or tablet or whatever and then just connect your little Oculyze box. It’s very easy to handle, it’s pretty accurate when we get the values, what we get out: the viability and the yeast cell counts, and it definitely helps us in a very handy and easy way to know “okay, we want to do this or that pitching rate for bits of that beer” and, well, at the end of the day it turns out very well and the whole Oculyze product makes it easy to understand and also easy to use and easy to explain to others.

Oculyze: Reliability is everything. How would you put at ease someone who’s still reluctant about automatizing their yeast cell counts?
Max Haemmerle: So, as I just said, obviously quality control is important and should probably become a big topic more and more in today’s brewing industry. I kind of understand, for example, small breweries or brewers who work in small breweries – they kind of don’t want to really deal with those kind of new technology things and do quality control… And I probably would ask them “so, what’s actually your… what is your thought process about not using these kind of things?” I would give them a bit of a different view on it and like the possibilities on how to change this, how to change that, and get a bit more like a slow process towards those things… And maybe you can change their minds or maybe not. But it’s not like I would say to them “okay, you’re stupid only because you don’t want to use it”, but you also got to consider quality control gets more and more important these days, with new laws and stuff, in individual countries, so at some point you probably need to get on top of it.

Oculyze: What, would you say, is the one “old-school” thing, notion, or conception that all breweries should stick to, no matter which new technologies they use?
Max Haemmerle: I think everyone has a love for the beer, the passion for the beer, there’s many different processes, but I think if you’re a real brewer you see it as a lifestyle… more like a lifestyle rather than a job.

Many thanks, Max Haemmerle and Philter Brewing!

Passionate about the beer and/or wine making process? So are we! If you’re interested in finding out how you can use our technology to control fermentation and monitor your yeast, save work hours and improve the cost-efficiency of your business, drop us a line at [email protected] or check out our product pages:

Also, you can now get access to a fully functional demo account to test our Web App. Completely free of charge and with no commitment to purchase.

  • Interviews

    Interview with Peter Rouwen from Brouwerij Noordt

    We talked to Peter Rowen from Brouwerij Noordt about the “finger in the air” approach to decision making and getting it right with Oculyze.

    Read more
  • Interviews

    Interview with James Roberts from Mobberley Brewhouse

    James Roberts, co-owner and MD at Mobberley Brewhouse, talks in this interview about saving time and boosting accuracy by replacing the traditional yeast cell counting with Oculyze

    Read more
  • Interviews

    Interview with Garry McShane from Cabarrus Brewing Co

    “[Oculyze] is almost like having a whole ‘nother employee to help us with the creative side.”

    Read more
  • 0
      Your Cart
      Your cart is empty