Stuart Duff has been to every Bitter & Twisted Boutique Beer Festival since its inception back in 2007. At first he came as a beer fan but for the last three years he’s been at Maitland Gaol as the owner and operator of Dusty Miner Craft Brewery, serving up a range of delicious beer.
Stuart set up Dusty Miner in his backyard in Aberglasslyn and he operates the commercial business out of his 12 metre by 12 metre shed. He says the first weekend in November is one of the best times of the year for him and his business.
‘I love Bitter & Twisted. Everyone is looking to try new beer, have a chat and talk to you about your brewery. You don’t really get that at other festivals. I also love meeting such a diverse range of people, different characters, different backgrounds and I think that’s the great thing about beer, it seems to bring people together.’
Stuart grew up in Mudgee and started home brewing around 20 years ago.
‘It was something I did with my mates as a hobby but the thought of one day having my own brewery was crazy. But craft beer has gone from strength to strength in Australia and people are able to have really successful businesses. To put it in perspective, when I went professional in 2014 Dusty Miner was the 290th craft brewery in Australia. Today there is around 520 breweries, so the growth is unbelievable.’
And, why Dusty Miner you ask? Well, among all his brewing, bottling and delivering across The Hunter and the state, Stuart also works full time as a Fitter in the Wambo Coal Mine.
‘I usually average around five hours a night sleep but I wouldn’t do all this work if I didn’t love it and I honestly do. However, I do hope that one day I can brew full time.’
Dusty Miner will be serving up around six beers at Bitter & Twisted over the course of the weekend, including a Pale Ale, Red Ale, IPA and a mystery beer that will be revealed on Saturday.
To get your hands on tickets for Sunday go to www.bitterandtwisted.com.au/tickets/