Meet Josh Warren, Head Brewer Of Valley Hops Brewing

Words by Mick Wust.

Meet Josh Warren, head brewer at Valley Hops Brewing. Josh hasn’t really changed his look in the last decade. He still dresses in baggy corduroy jeans, large fit T-shirts and his favourite pair of sneakers. And his arm and leg tattoos obviously haven’t gone anywhere.

But nowadays there’s something in Josh that didn’t exist ten years ago – a passion for making beer. He’s a trained chef, but once he got into brewing he didn’t look back. Get him talking about beer and you won’t be able to shut him up.

He’s also the friendliest ball of energy around – take him to a music festival and you’ll lose him in the first five minutes, and find him later with some new friends he’s made. He’s the first one you call when you need to move house, and the last one to leave the brewery when he’s working on a new recipe.

Want to get a look into Josh’s true character? Here’s the words straight from his mouth.

Head Brewer Josh Warren. Doing his thing in the place he knows best.

Apart from beer, what are you passionate about?

“I love art. It’s not just all over my body – my whole house is covered in paintings, commissioned pieces from artists that I like. And that’s how I view my tattoos, that I’m collecting pieces from these artists. I’ve got a pretty neat little piece from a guy in Japan who’s been tattooing for 25 years. Another little piece from a guy in Vietnam.

I adopted a cat recently and he’s been excellent. I love my pets – I’ve also got a couple of reptiles, a bearded dragon and a snake, and a fish tank with cherry shrimp.

I grew up by the beach. I never learned to surf, but I lived and breathed the salt water. The beach is my comfort zone – the one place I feel really resets me.”

You’ve got a Saturday night to spend in the Valley with your friends. Where do you go? What do you do?

“Have some dinner at Super Bowl Chinese, see a gig at the Tivoli, then finish the night off at Netherworld with some pinball.”

If you could have front row tickets to any gig at the Tivoli, which band or artist would you see?

“Jurassic 5.”

After the show you get to share a beer with Jurassic 5. What kind of beer is it?

“Something tropical to cool down and refresh, with all those tropical fruits you think of when you think of Queensland – mango, passionfruit, maybe some pineapple in there. The kind of beer you could smash on a Gold Coast beach.”

Head Brewer Josh Warren. Doing his thing in the place he knows best.

Who’s the most interesting person you’ve ever seen in the Valley?

“All the buskers and street performers of varying talent always stand out to me. I’ll also never forget the cowboy who was at Ric’s every time I went. The people watching in the Valley is unreal. You see every kind of person from every kind of demographic… it’s a good cultural experience, seeing those kinds of characters.”

Give us the short version of how you got into beer and brewing.

“After getting a job behind the bar at Green Beacon, I pestered Johann [GB head brewer] until he let me start washing kegs. Then I learnt the whole process backwards – from washing and filling kegs, all the way back to the brewhouse. I got a really good brewing education from Jo, and very quickly I recognised this is something I want to do potentially forever.”

What do you love about brewing?

“I love the scientific background of it. I kick myself constantly that I didn’t pay more attention to chemistry in high school, because all I want to do now is chemistry! And I love the history behind beer. Fermentation is one of the earliest technologies humankind harvested from nature. Stainless steel has only existed for what, 80 to 100 years or so in the brewing realm, so how did they do it before that? That’s where so many styles of beer have come from. That’s very appealing to me.”

What kind of beer do you like to drink?

“My taste at the moment is changing on a weekly basis! I can never go past a well made lager. But the world of hops right now is so incredible and only getting so much better. I always start a session with an IPA, then I’ll taper off to a West coast pale ale.”

Head Brewer Josh Warren. Doing his thing in the place he knows best.

Is that what you like to brew as well?

“Yep, anything with careful consideration of how to best utilise hops. I also like brewing lagers.”

What does Valley Hops bring to Fortitude Valley?

Valley Hops will be home to Fortitude Valley‘s very own beer, something the locals can drink and be proud to call their own. The Valley’s awesome for so many kinds of reasons… I’m excited to be a part of that community.”

Josh has the most important job at Valley Hops – making the beer. So if you see him around, tell him what you think of it. He’ll always be happy to chat.