Nestled inside the walls of Brisbane's Newstead Brewing, you’ll find Mark Howes and Luke Shield at the helm of Working Title Brew Co. We’ve got a bit of a soft spot for beer, especially when they incorporate what we love most around here (in case we’ve lost you, it’s coffee). Naturally, we’re excited to have collaborated on Working Title’s latest project, which is a four-pack containing four distinctively different brews — one featuring yours truly, all packaged in a snazzy gift box.
We’ve been friends with Mark and Luke for a while now, with Mark being the former CEO of Newstead Brewing Co. and Luke, a graphic designer, big in Brisbane’s brewing scene. We sat down with Mark and Luke, to chat more about our collaboration, the brewing industry and their favourite Supreme coffee, of course.
Q: Hey Mark and Luke, tell us a little about Working Title Brew Co?
We're just a couple of mates having some fun. Luke Shield, as our Head of Arts and Crafts, loves playing with vector patterns, complaining about his lack of RAM and pontificating over which CMYK black is true black. Mark Howes, a Fermentologist, has low self-esteem and enjoys dark corners and self-medication whilst reading Untappd reviews. No rhyme and no reason, that’s our motto. Our beers are made up of old faithfuls, new concoctions and a few serendipitous cock-ups along the way.
Q: How long have you been in the brewing industry, and what led you to it?
M: I’ve been a big fan of beer for about two decades now. What began as a hobby back in the early naughties escalated quickly into a passion project and now a job that I’m incredibly thankful for. Luke and I saw an opportunity years ago to deliver something fun and exciting into the Brisbane market. And by circumstance, here we are. Still a big fan of beer.
L: I started working with Mark about 6 years ago creating can and decal designs for Newstead Brewing Co. I'd been churning out illustrations, enamel pins, design and branding for bars and breweries in and around Brisbane for a while, so I guess it's been almost 10 years of beverage related work. Time flies when you’re inebriated daily.
Q: What are your official roles at Working Title? And what do you really get up to?
M: What I really do love about this setup is Luke and I basically get to do everything. Cleaning, scrubbing, washing, shining and cleaning. Love it. Although Luke is pretty hands-off with the cleaning.
L: My role includes graphic design, web design and maintenance, general marketing and sales. Ours is a collaborative process though, from developing recipes through to beer names and can design concepts. Unless a beer tastes or looks shit. Then it was all Mark. I’m kidding of course; the beers never look shit.
Q: We’re excited to have collaborated on this latest beer, Reign Supreme, with you. What inspired the recipe and what can we expect to taste?
We love coffee, like almost… almost as much as beer. And the filter roasts from Coffee Supreme are on regular rotation at home. We have dabbled in a few coffee-infused beers so far, like Almost Famous White Stout and a Coffee Cacao and Vanilla Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout coming soon. The coffee Supreme has made for these beers is easily the best, most complimentary coffee flavours I have ever tasted in beer.
Q: Where can punters pick up a can of Reign Supreme?
Everywhere! The best bet would be to hit our website and use the stockist locator, but we’ll also have the beer on tap August 4th at The Catfish in Fitzroy, VIC. Otherwise, we’re stocked in pretty much every state except for WA.
Q: What’s your go-to after-work bevy?
M: Objection, leading.
L: Usually a Working Title knock-off is quickly followed by a G&T. In fact, I could go a Reign Supreme right now that you mention it.
Q: Who or what gets you guys pumped? Who do you usually look to for inspiration?
M: Stupidly, I think our best ideas come when we just shoot the shit over some beers. Don’t tell Luke. We’ll put the Webber on and bang through some local beers and talk about flavour and things that we love. We don’t always see eye-to-eye but we always back each other. Luke was keen on a Berry Cacao Sour that sounded a bit meh to me, but it turned out amazing. So we do trust each other, even when we disagree.
L: If we’re talking design, I really love the can art that To’ol and Omnipollo create. I don’t think we really look to anyone for beer inspiration though. As Mark has stated, most of our beer concepts are developed over BBQ and beers rather than looking to existing breweries for inspo. We like to march to the beat of our own keg.
Q: What’s your coffee setup at home or at the brewery?
M: Just a little Chemex for daily use and an AeroPress for camping. It’s the morning ritual right. I do love the Supreme filter roasts and every morning start with a Chemex and Wordle. Yeah, I know I’m 40.
L: I currently rock an AeroPress, but also have a DeLonghi (or DeWrongi as Mark calls it) for lazy days. Mark also just gifted me a Chemex, so I’ll be playing with that soon. Honestly, I’d happily take my coffee intravenously if it wasn’t frowned upon in the workplace.
Q: Got a favourite Supreme coffee?
M: Holiday Blend was exactly that. There was also a carbonically macerated filter earlier this year that was off the charts.
L: Supreme Blend all the way for me.
Q: What’s next on the cards for Working Title?
We’re just going to keep knocking out beer we can be proud of, while pushing the envelope in terms of style and experimentation. Keep your eyes peeled as we delve more into barrel-aged beers and wild ferments. We’re here for the long haul; or at least until Newstead kicks us out.