Craft Beer of South Western Australia

February 14, 2012

Going away down south is the tried and tested holiday spot for Perth dwellers. After the Macedonian madness throughout January, Andrea and I thought it was time once again to make the three hour drive and chill the fuck out.

The Margaret River wine region in well known, but Bungas (whose beer gut has been in immaculate form for well over 13 months now) insisted that rather than hit the wineries, we’d visit the microbreweries for a taste. Here they are in chronological order:

1.  Colonial Brewing Company, Margaret River

Refreshing Kolsch at Colonial Brewing Company

Refreshing Kolsch at Colonial Brewing Company

The first type we tried was the Kölsch. Kölsch beer in WA? En serio? That’s right. It had a fuller taste than its origins in Cologne, but that refreshing clean flavour was evident and totally hit the spot on a warm summer’s day. I also had the limited edition “Mumme” beer, which reminded me of a bock, but much more subtle. Among others, they also brew an India Pale Ale and Porter that I couldn’t indulge in due to their high alcohol content and the fact that I was designated driver. Colonial (as well as most breweries down there) have a two litre bottle called a “growler” that you can fill up with a beer of your choice to take home, however, we resisted the urge to stock up.

2.  Cowaramup Brewing Company, Cowaramup

A gaggle of geese on the beautiful grounds at Cowaramup Brewery

A gaggle of geese on the beautiful grounds at Cowaramup Brewery

A beautiful setting with an outdoor verandah, beer garden and pond full of tasty looking geese, we also enjoyed a delectable pizza here. They have an award-winning Pilsener that we missed, but unfortunately you have to pick and choose your beers because you can’t have them all! Tasting paddles are also available with six 100 mL glasses of each type, but I didn’t delve into this glorious pasttime until later breweries. Andrea had the Special Pale Ale and I tried the Porter, which is fast becoming my favourite style of beer. Hefeweizen also features here, which shows the German influence in producing wonderful beers.

3.  Bootleg Brewery, Wilyabrup

Bootleg has been around since 1994, with its massive beer garden and surrounds providing an awesome spot for a good old-fashioned Sunday session. We stopped by quickly to pick up a delicious six pack for drinking at the hotel. While I’m not against the growler as mentioned above, the chance to taste different types is much more appealing to me. Their Raging Bull is outstanding and at 7.1%, is full of taste and malty goodness. The other winners for me were the Hefe and the Sou’ West Wheat beers, with the former steeped in banana flavour and the latter full of delicious “chunky bits” that I love so much.

4.  Eagle Bay Brewing Company, Dunsborough

Vienna at Eagle Bay Brewing Company

A short drive from Dunsborough town, this picturesque location has a great view of Cape Naturaliste and the ocean. We both had the Vienna to begin with, which is an extremely drinkable Bavarian style lager. We then tried the Pale Ale and Extra Special Bitter (ESB). The Pale Ale was American style and truly full of hops to keep you occupied for hours. The ESB was English style with bitterness and maltiness combining for a great experience.

5.  BushShack Brewery, Yallingup

Tasting the range at BushShack Brewery

This non-descript brewery has homemade written all over it. The bar felt like your local corner pub and the backyard a tranquil beer garden where you can put your feet up. But that’s where the comparison ends, because this place brews some weird and wonderful beers. I went with the tasting paddle, which included the very interesting Strawberry Blonde (6.7%) and Chocolate Beer. But my favourites were the malty Yallingup Old and the smokey stout, Dirty Dan’s Dark Delight (7.9%). BushShack is the only other brewery that has their beer available in bottles. They also do alcoholic soda and fruit drinks that I dared not try, at least not this time.

6.  Duckstein Brewery, Wilyabrup

The tasting tray at Duckstein

Duckstein also has a winery attached and a very nice front garden on arrival. Inside, please turn left for the brewery and proceed to the outdoor verandah overlooking a dam. There’s also a pleasant beer garden with plenty of space. I opted for the tasting paddle again, trying their four regular beers and the seasonal special, Fest Bier. This was my favourite, malty and refreshing at the same time and I went back for another pint. Their Hefeweiss, Dunkel and Altbier show that this brewery is serious about producing all that is German. We also ate lunch here and the menu is full of German specialties, with Andrea’s wiener schnitzel beating my trio of sausages.

Have you visited these breweries before? What’s your favourite?


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  1. Comment by emilyinchile

    emilyinchile Reply February 14, 2012 at 1:43 am

    I’m not much of a beer drinker, but the photos are making me want to be outside with a nice frosty glass of one of these.

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      Andrea and John February 16, 2012 at 2:41 pm

      Thanks Emily. It sure has been hot enough here in the searing heat!

  2. Comment by Sophie

    Sophie Reply February 14, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    And here I thought Margaret River was all about wine…

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      Andrea and John February 16, 2012 at 2:40 pm

      Don’t forget that beer makes the world go round, haha!

  3. Comment by Andi Perullo

    Andi Perullo Reply February 14, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    Haha I was literally going to say the SAME comment as Emily! :)

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      Andrea and John February 16, 2012 at 2:40 pm

      Thanks Andi!

  4. Comment by Ellen & Justin

    Ellen & Justin Reply February 15, 2012 at 8:32 am

    These are awesome, guys! We’ll have to remember this if we’re in Australia. We love to visit craft/micro breweries together. We’re planning a post down the line on craft breweries in the northeastern U.S. Great share!

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      Andrea and John February 16, 2012 at 2:39 pm

      Cheers! I know there’s awesome craft brews in the U.S. too and I’ve only sampled a few.

  5. Comment by Laurel

    Laurel Reply February 15, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    I haven’t even heard of any of these breweries.  It’s amazing how many there are in Australia, I had no idea.

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      Andrea and John February 16, 2012 at 2:36 pm

      That’s right, Laurel. And these are just in WA; each state has plenty to choose from!

  6. Comment by Cam

    Cam Reply February 15, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Love this guys! I’m always on the lookout for new brews to sample… the last photo is especially delicious!

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      Andrea and John February 16, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      Thanks Cam. I, too love those sample glasses!

  7. Comment by Alexa-- 52 PerfectDays

    Alexa-- 52 PerfectDays Reply February 16, 2012 at 3:25 am

    I think I like Duckstein Brewery the best. German beers always taste the best for me. 

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      Andrea and John February 16, 2012 at 2:35 pm

      Duckstein was great! German beer is fantastic!

  8. Comment by Natasha von Geldern

    Natasha von Geldern Reply February 17, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    After years of contempt for Australian beer, I have arrived here and been amazed and thrilled at all the micro-breweries and boutique beers around! Thanks for the tips, will definitely go on my list for when I visit WA!

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      Andrea and John February 17, 2012 at 9:07 pm

      What Aussie beer were you drinking before?

  9. Comment by Our Oyster

    Our Oyster Reply February 18, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Wow this all looks super amazing! Do you know if there are any tours that take in these breweries? I dont have a drivers license, and I wont hate to miss out on some of these places 

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      Andrea and John February 18, 2012 at 11:01 am

      Some of the wine tours down there include a brewery after the wine tastings but we haven’t heard of any breweries tours specifically – there are so many down there, though, that I wouldn’t be surprised if someone starts one soon

  10. Comment by Turtle

    Turtle Reply February 20, 2012 at 1:43 am

    All the best Aussie beers come from WA. It’s just a pity they’re so damn expensive in Sydney!! Grrr…

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      Andrea and John February 20, 2012 at 11:03 am

      Thanks, mate! Good to see WA brews getting across but you have some pretty good ones over on that side too.

  11. Comment by Relton Roberts

    Relton Roberts Reply February 23, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    The Raging Bull is ace. Glad they still make it after all these years. That Duckstein Weiner schntiz is magnifique!

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      Andrea and John February 23, 2012 at 6:05 pm

      Sure was a good beer sesh down there!

  12. Comment by Andrea and John

    Andrea and John Reply February 26, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    Us too – I’m sure we’ll catch up soon, Cheryl!

  13. Comment by DavenDeb

    DavenDeb Reply March 4, 2012 at 12:20 am

    Great round up filled with information. If we ever get ourselves to Western Australia, we’ll have to check these out. 

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      Andrea and John March 4, 2012 at 12:30 am

      Cheers, guys! Definitely check out WA next time you’re in Australia – it’s really under-explored.

  14. Comment by Lisa

    Lisa Reply March 29, 2012 at 6:23 am

    I love the photos, you guys find the most interesting beers. You clearly love exploring new beers.

  15. Comment by Ian (from WA)

    Ian (from WA) Reply March 30, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Go the Bootleg and the Duckstein. Recommended from THIS local ;)

    • Comment by inspiringtravellers

      inspiringtravellers March 30, 2012 at 4:56 pm

      Both awesome breweries – thanks, Ian!

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