Firing up a traditional brew in Robe

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By Kate Foreman

From a discarded fish-factory the small traditional Robe Town Brewery is claimed to be the only one of its kind in Australia.

For Latvian couple, Maris and Kristi Biezaite it’s their passion for beer and history, as well as their hands-on approach which saw them transform their brewery from the ground up.

The couple fell love with the seaside town in 2011, after coincidently ending up in Robe.

“We travelled to Australia and had been living in Melbourne with family, but decided to head to Adelaide to find work (Maris was born in Adelaide, but returned to Latvia with his parents when he was 12),” explains Kristi.

“Friends of friends had bought a place in Robe which needed some work.

“So we went and stayed in Robe, loved it and decided to stay and help fix up their house.”

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Maris and Kristi Biezaite’s Robe Town Brewery

For years Maris would home-brew beers, before making the ultimate beer lovers dream come true.

In the late 1860s a prominent man about Robe by the name of George Lord Senior owned and operated the Robe Town Brewery, possibly from the back of the Criterion Hotel.

Many of their beer styles are rich in history, with Maris adopting historical brewing methods and techniques.

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Historical brewing methods all the rage at Robe Brewery

“Most micro breweries and craft brewers are industrial, have equipment which is pretty modern and high tech,” says Maris.

“We use historical brewing methods and techniques, we are very hands on and all natural, we brew the way it would have been made centuries ago.

“How we brew is actually quite unique, nobody else in Australia, and in fact I think the world makes beer the way we make it with all the elements combined.”

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Maris gets some help from friend Tom while brewing in traditional style at Robe Brewery

Kristi and Maris are responsible for all aspects of their business – from brewing to the marketing and design.

“We are literally on a shoe-string budget and any profit we make goes back into the brewery,” says Kristi.

“It’s great because we get to do a little bit of everything that we like to do.”

With Maris’ background in journalism and Kristi’s artistic and creative skills the pair design and create their labels and brochures.

From the style of beer, names and the ingredients used each beer has a unique history.

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Kristi and Maris Biezaitis at their Robe Town Brewery cellar door talking with tourists

“People really like the Shearer’s Joy,” Maris says.

“Shearer’s Joy is an old slang term from the 1800s for beer, probably for beer made on the homestead for shearers or labourers for after or during work.”

In September the Robe Town Brewery is partnering with the Robe Home-brew and Craft Beer Festival to bring beer enthusiasts to Robe and the Limestone Coast.

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