News

Call it witchcraft: Nikki named home brew champion

CHEERS! Nikki Roberts, of Lismore, took out the home brew champion ribbon at the North Coast National this year.
CHEERS! Nikki Roberts, of Lismore, took out the home brew champion ribbon at the North Coast National this year. Melissa Gulbin

TIRED of berry smoothies, North Coast National home brew champ Nikki Roberts figured the glut of foraged blueberries and mulberries in her freezer might work in a wheat ale.

The Lismore retro treasure retailer had already entered seven other home brew categories at the Lismore show, including her tried-and-true Liquorice Stout and celebrated Hard Apple Cider with Mint.

But it was the berry-flavoured wheat ale wild card, bottled hours before entries closed, which took out the Beer of Any Other Variety category as well as scoring the champion exhibit ribbon.

Ms Roberts started brewing a year ago after joining a Northern Rivers home brew Facebook group, where members gifted her some kit.

She entered every single category bar the lager division. Lager, Ms Roberts said, needs to be consistently brewed at lower temperatures, not possible from the kitchen bench of her immaculately quirky flat.

"I've got something on the boil all the time with different concoctions. My kitchen smells like a fabulous brewery constantly. At night I go to bed and can hear them bubbling away like witch's brews. I call them my 'witchy-woo-woo' brews," Ms Roberts said.

"There is a long and interesting history with witches being connected to brewing. All of the symbols we associate with witchcraft were actually linked to female brewing.

"Black cauldrons were used for boiling wort. Women brewers had cats to keep rodents out of their grain storage. Brooms were displayed above the door of a brewer with ale for sale. When they took their ale to market, they would wear tall, pointed hats in order to stand out from the crowd.

"Traditionally, brewing beer was women's work. The water was too polluted to drink. Part of the domestic duties for women was to turn it into beer so that it wouldn't make the village sick. It also increased the nutritional value."

It was only when serious money could be made out of beer that it became a man's domain, Ms Roberts said.

"Home brewing is delicious, alcoholic, organic chemistry," she said.

"One of the best things about home brew is that you can really tailor the product to your own taste preferences. I tend to hold back a little bit with boiling hops in my beers as I don't really like them too bitter. I am also a big fan of dry hopping - adding hops to the fermenter a few days before it is bottled - which lets you keep all those lovely essential oils and floral and fruity flavours which are lost during the initial boil."

She explained that the bloke-dominated home brew scene tended to focus on a more bitter, hopsier brew.

However, Ms Roberts had no intention of up-scaling her "witchy-woo-woo" operation for commercial sale.

"There is too much red tape and focus on consistency. I love experimenting," she said.

"But hey, if Stone and Wood want to give me a job, I wouldn't turn it down."



Severe storm warning issued for Lismore

There is a severe weather warning for the region.

Large hailstones, heavy rain and damaging winds have been predicted

Worst damage in 30 years: Iconic lighthouse out of action

The Byron Bay Lighthouse has been damaged by lightning.

Severe lightning "obliterates" Byron lighthouse circuit breakers

Man busted with ice in his undies

Man wearing underpants

Police discover man's drug cock up

Local Partners

MT WARNING: Rescues show just how dangerous it can be

TODAY'S tragic rescue at Mt Warning marks the fourth recovery effort this year and sadly, the first death atop the highest point on the Northern Rivers.


REVEALED: A new Northern Rivers music festival in 2017

Lismore Music Festival co-directors Scott Cooper and Paul Connelly.

Mark March 10 and 11 in your calendar

This weekend's markets list

BIG VOICE: Ron the Coffee Man is a popular and regular stallholder at a number of local markets.

Where to get fresh local produce from

Not ten, but fifteen awesome things to do this week

ANNIVERSARY: Charity day party Nudge Nudge Wink Wink has raised almost $20,000 for local organisations in its first year of events.

This busy week we have pretty much every possible event you may want

Hailey Baldwin: I don't understand Taylor Swift's squad

Hailey Baldwin has taken a quick stab at Taylor Swift and co.

Taylor Lautner 'spotted smooching co-star'

Taylor Lautner has been romantically linked to Billie Lourd

David Beckham's tattoos come to life for UNICEF campaign

David Beckham has called for an end to violence against children

Pop star Liam Payne's Facebook hacked with porn

"Things that can happen to you when you don't have sex."

Tim Roth was abused by his grandfather

Tim Roth was abused by his grandfather during his childhood.

Leo designs shocker tattoo for Tom Hardy after lost bet

Leonardo DiCaprio has designed a new tattoo for Tom Hardy

Developer's grand new multi-million dollar estate

NEW ESTATE: This is the only plan revealed by the property developer's new Billabongs Estate in Agnes Water.

DEVELOPER given the go ahead for a massive estate with 149 homes.

Banks reclaim Gladstone homes as job losses bite

LONG FALL: Property experts Heron Todd say, based on key market indicators, Gladstone is still travelling to the bottom of the market, with property prices set to get cheaper.

Property valuers say Gladstone housing market hasn't hit the bottom

The million dollar property to test Mackay's market

This Victoria St building will go to auction Tuesday and investors will be watching closely to see how much it sells for.

'High profile architect designed CBD asset' goes to auction

Chinese locked out of Australian property market

The rules are different if you're a foreigner

The buyer was from China - the trouble started right there

Morrison signs off on new affordable rental model

Australia's Treasurer Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference after a meeting of the Council of Federal Financial Relations at Parliament House in Canberra, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.

Scott Morrison signed off on development of a new financing model

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!