After five weeks and a day in the Burns Unit, Behemoth Brewing’s Andrew Childs is home and recovering.
Last month Behemoth’s Andrew Childs and 8 Wired’s Jason Bathgate were seriously scalded in an accident at the 8 Wired brewery in North Auckland. Both suffered extensive burns and have since received skin grafts and ongoing treatment. Jason is still at Middlemore Hospital, and Andrew returned home last Friday.
Speaking from his Mt Eden home, Andrew gives Beertown. NZ the rundown on his recovery.
The first thing Andrew does is acknowledge the support shown to him and Jason. On top of the devoted emergency and hospital staff, the two brewers have had support and visits from literally hundreds of people, breweries, bars and other organisations.
The Brewers Guild set up a Give Little Page, and Andrew says this gives practical and valuable assistance. “Even just parking at the hospital costs $50 a week”. Andrew gives a special shout out to his partner Hannah Miller for her help.
Andrew says the now notorious In Your Face Double IPA was not named for the accident. “I came up with the name months ago. We both did get a little bit burnt on our faces but nothing permanent. In fact it was like a chemical peel and we both look younger, less wrinkles.
“People think the In Your Face everyone is drinking at the moment is the actual beer that burnt us. It’s a nice story, but none of the second batch saw the light of day. We got the first batch in, great, and the second batch is the one that went awry. None of that actually made it to the fermenter.”
Andrew admits they took the name In Your Face “a little bit too literally”, and now he’s taking Hopped Up On Pils literally too, as he slowly eases off morphine and methadone. “I have to wean myself off those over a few weeks otherwise you’re sweating like a heroin addict.”
Andrew says his medication is making him unusually sensitive to spicy and bitter flavours. “The first beer I had in ages was a Hopped Up On Pils at 30 IBU, and it tasted like the bitterest beer ever. I’ve been given a lot of nice stuff and I want to be able to taste it. And I want to taste my own beers. We’re doing Roll in the Hay farmhouse IPA next week and I want to be able to taste it when it comes out.”
After the skin grafts, Andrew and Jason both face a year or two wearing compression suits to prevent scarring. The suits are custom-made and come in a range of colours – “if I lose a few kilos I’ll look just like Batman! I still have a lot of wounds healing and the district nurse comes and changes bandages every couple of days. It will be a few more weeks before I don’t have to worry about bits falling off in the shower.”
Behemoth has always been a contract brewer, and has already commissioned two new batches this week – Hopped Up On Pils from Tuatara, and In Your Facefrom 8 Wired. Andrew hopes to back on a brewery floor in person “in a few weeks”.
“We never stopped being in business. I’d already hired Fred Thomas part time and he went full time doing everything I do. He really stood up and proved he can do the stuff when I can’t, and I guess you want that in every business. Now he’s going to do sales full time, which will allow me to concentrate on brewing and coming up with new beers and exports and distribution. I’d really like to get into exporting. We’ve had interest from Australia, from South Korea, Vietnam and Japan.”