Category Archive: Brewery Reviews

Northbridge Brewing Company

On Wednesday the 10th of January I visited The Northbridge Brewing Company in the Northbridge area of Perth, Western Australia. This brewery came into being after the City of Perth asked the community for expressions of interest and suggestions for use of the area next to the Northbridge Piazza. It took several years for Beerland Brewing to go from a concept to actually being an operating brewery and bar in the heart of the entertainment district of the city. The brewery finally opened in August of 2014 and has never looked back.
The brewery is very family friendly and the Piazza Bar opens out onto the grassed area. Movies are also shown here on the large outdoor screen. The brewery itself is split over three levels; the downstairs Piazza Bar and Beer Garden, the upstairs Tank Bar and the rooftop Skydeck Bar. The brewery has a restaurant that has a fantastic menu of food that goes well with beer.
The brewing is carried out in a twelve hectolitre brewhouse with the brewery having a total capacity of about 150000 litres per year if they were to really push the brews through. They have a core range that has grown from four to five styles of beer and also produce an ever changing selection of seasonal brews.
The beers that I sampled were:
1. Beerland Wheat, 5.0% abv, this has a golden straw colour and a banana and bubblegum aroma. It has a wonderful sweet wheat flavour with a mild spiciness.
2. Beerland Lager, 5.0% abv, this has a golden colour and sweet malt aroma. It has a nice malt taste on a crisp, clean finish.
3. Beerland Pale Ale, 5.2% abv, this Australian style Pale Ale has a golden colour and a tropical fruit and floral aroma. It has a well balanced flavour of sweet malt and fruit and then a gentle bitter finish.
4. Beerland Kolsch, 5.0% abv, this has a golden colour and a sweet malt aroma. It has a great malt flavour with hints of spice and sweet fruit. True to the style.
5. Beerland IPA, 6.0% abv, this American style India Pale Ale has a hazy golden colour and a strong aroma of citrus, tropical fruit and pine. It has a very nice juicy, citrus fruit flavour with a mild resinous bitterness on the finish. Lovely.
6. Beerland Yorkshire Gold, 4.8% abv, this ESB style beer is a seasonal and has an amber colour with a caramel malt aroma. It has a wonderful malt palate of caramel and toffee on a dry finish. Very true to the style and delicious.

The beers being produced by head brewer Ken Arrowsmith and brewer Andrew Dean are all very good and very easy drinking. They have some great seasonal brews coming out soon including a Gose style and an NEIPA.
The venue is fantastic and available for functions and also hosts live music. They run Brewer for the Day events, Brewery tours, Brewmaster Tastings and Talks and a Beer Club. The Northbridge Brewing Co. is definitely a place worth visiting if you are in Perth.
I would like to thank Danielle, Nadia and Andrew for their time and hospitality when I visited.

Paul Cooke

Artisan Brewing Company

On Saturday the 23rd of December I visited the Artisan Brewing Company in Denmark, Western Australia. They just celebrated their third birthday of brewing in November. However, Brian, the owner and brewer gained his Diploma of Brewing Science in the US over ten years ago. He was then involved in the importation of kegs for the home brew community from 2006. He is still involved with the importing of draught beer equipment for home brewers and specialty yeasts for the craft beer industry. He also was the president of the WA Brewers Association for five years.
He brought all this experience when he eventually started his own brewery and made the decision to specialise in Belgian style beers. He launched the brewery with a Farmhouse Red Beer at 8.2% abv, one hell of a way to introduce yourself to the local craft beer community. It was very well received and the brewery has moved from strength to strength. They have been doubling their growth every year so far and last year produced 18000 litres of beer with the prediction of making over 30000 litres in the coming year.


They do their brewing on the old equipment that was updated at the Boston Brewing Company and have five fermentation tanks at a capacity of 50 hectolitres. They are even doing some barrel ageing and blending. In the future Brian intends to brew with different sugars and spices to achieve the flavours he desires. It is all about experimenting and having fun while producing high quality beers.
The beers that I sampled were:


1. Saison, 6.2% abv, this has a hazy golden colour and a yeasty aroma. It has a nice gentle spiciness on a very true Saison flavour.
2. Rocking Red Rye Saison, 4.7% abv, this has an amber colour and fruity aroma. It has a lovely spicy, fruity yeast flavour. Very nice.
3. Strong Golden Ale, 6.5% abv, this has a golden colour and a malt aroma. It has a wonderful sweet buttery malt and fruit flavour on a dry finish.
4. Citra Elixir, 6.2% abv, this is a dry hopped IPA with a golden orange colour and a citrus and mango aroma. It has a sweet citrus fruit flavour and a gentle bitterness on a dry finish.
5. Awesome Blonde, 5.8% abv, this has a golden straw colour and a malt aroma. It has a great sweet buttery malt flavour. It is smooth and delicious.
6. Festbiere, 5.6% abv, this has an amber colour and a spicy malt aroma. It has a nice malty taste with a gentle spiciness on a crisp dry finish.
7. Oatmeal Porter, 4.8% abv, this has a black colour and a roasted malt aroma. It has a lovely smooth mouth feel and a complex malt flavour with hints of coffee and dark chocolate on a gentle bitter finish.
8. The Moz IPA, 6.4% abv, this has a golden colour and a tropical fruit aroma. It has a wonderful sweet juicy tropical fruit flavour on a nice mild bitter finish. Delicious!

All of the beers that Artisan Brewing are producing are fantastic. They are definitely worth looking for. They are available at many venues but definitely at The Denmark Tavern as well as at Petition Beer Corner in Perth and at Clancy’s .
I would like to thank Brian for his time when I visited and also Phil at the Denmark Tavern for his hospitality.

Paul Cooke

Denmark Brew and Ales

On Friday the 22nd of December I visited Denmark Brew and Ales in Denmark, Western Australia. This brewery was started by Jason and Wendy Norton in 2009. Jason came from a home brewing background while living on a farm before he purchased the Southern End restaurant and function centre and decided he needed his own beers to sell. The beers are brewed offsite in Collie at Brew 42. They make predominantly Irish style beers and have a core range of five beers and a cider and ginger beer. All of the beers are naturally made and contain no preservatives.


The venue is beautiful with fantastic views down over Denmark and to the ocean beyond. It has a large restaurant area as well as the bar and also a function area that is popular for wedding receptions.
The beers that I sampled were:


1. Ocean Beach Bitter, 5.8% abv, this has a golden straw colour and a subtle malt aroma. It has a mild malt taste and a gentle bitterness on a crisp finish.
2. Busted Arz, 4.8% abv, this is an Irish Red Ale with an amber colour and a caramel malt aroma. It has a sweet malty taste with a gentle fruity bitter finish.
3. Apple Cider, 4.6% abv, this has a golden colour and a sweet apple aroma. It has a nice sweet apple flavour and then a dry tart finish.
4. Brew 42, Power House Pale Ale, this has a golden colour and a subtle malt aroma. It has a sweet malty flavour with a nice fruitiness on a mild bitter finish.
5. Brew 42, Blue Moon Lager, this has a golden colour and a sweet malt aroma. It has a sweet malt taste on a crisp dry finish.

The Denmark Brew and Ales also make a Stout that is very popular, an IPA, a Lager and a Berry Cider. All of the beers that I sampled were very easy drinking and should be well accepted by the mainstream beer drinkers.

I would like to thank Wendy for her hospitality when I visited.

Paul Cooke

Boston Brewing Company

On Thursday the 21st of December I visited The Boston Brewing Company in Denmark, Western Australia. This brewery was started six years ago in Willoughby Park Winery. The name comes from the owner’s wife’s maiden name.


They underwent an upgrade and expansion two years ago that saw them increase the brewhouse size from 500 litre capacity to a three vessel 1800 litre system. They have three 18 hectolitre fermentation tanks and three 36 hectolitre tanks and numerous bright tanks. They are expanding their sale range by moving into the packaged beer market and recently added a canning line. At present they have their Rye Pale Ale, Brown Ale and Ginger Beer available in the cans, with two more varieties of beer to be added to the range in the new year. The brewery also is moving into barrel ageing some special beers, these include Stouts and sours.

The brewery also houses a large restaurant and has a children’s playground in the beer garden.
The beers that I sampled were:


1. Hey Hay, 4.6% abv, this is a German Hefeweizen with a straw colour and a banana and yeast aroma. It has a great spicy banana, clove and wheat flavour on a dry finish.
2. Boss, 4.8% abv, this is a Lager with a golden straw colour and a subtle malt aroma. It has an easy drinking malt taste with a gentle bitterness on a crisp, clean finish.
3. Boondie, 5.0% abv, this is a Rye Pale Ale with a golden amber colour and a citrus and tropical fruit aroma. It has a well balanced flavour of sweet malt and tropical fruit before a nice bitterness on the finish.
4. Poison Point, 6.0% abv, this is an West Coast IPA with a golden colour and a tropical fruit and pine aroma. It has a lovely sweet fruitiness and then a resinous hop bitter finish.
5. Rame Head Red, 7.4% abv, this is a Red IPA that may undergo a name change in the near future. It has an amber colour and a malt and fruit aroma. The flavour is one of malt and tropical fruit tastes and then transitions into a nice, lingering mild bitterness on the finish.
6. Little Fella, 3.5% abv, this is a mid-strength beer with a golden colour and subtle citrus and malt aroma. It has a good citrus fruit taste and a gentle bitterness on a crisp finish.
7. The Right, 5.7% abv, this Nut Brown Ale has a brown colour and a sweet caramel malt aroma. It has a wonderful complex malt palate of nuts and caramel with hints of chocolate.
8. Afterglose 4.5% abv, this is a Raspberry Gose with a hazy pink colour and a raspberry aroma. It has a fruity raspberry taste with a good tart finish.

The Boston Brewing Company is producing some wonderful beers and has a fantastic family friendly venue. This is a brewery that is definitely worth visiting if you are in the Denmark area.
I would like to thank Tyson, the head brewer, for his time and hospitality when I visited.

Paul Cooke

Wilson Brewing Company

On Wednesday the 20th of December I visited The Wilson Brewing Company in Albany, Western Australia. This brewery was started by Matty Wilson nearly eighteen months ago.

He came from the mining industry, with a recent history of doing fly in fly out work before moving home to his home town of Albany and deciding it was time for a change. He had been a keen home brewer for many years so opening up a brewery seemed logical.


He built the brewery himself, including the brewing vessels and bottling line, on the site of a closed down plant nursery. The brew system has a 500 litre capacity and is in use seven days a week at present to produce 3500 litres a week. This amount is not keeping up with demand so the brewery is being expanded and a new purpose built Spark five vessel brew system and fermentation tanks will be installed early in the new year. This system will be capable of producing 3000 litres a day. A new canning line, capable of handling 25 cartons an hour, is also in the plans.

Initially the brewery only produced kegged beers for other venues but their own bar was opened in February this year and has been very well patronised since then. At present the brewery employs ten local people but this will probably grow when the brewery expands next year. They have plans to expand the bar area to include a function area and also hope to have a beer garden open by next summer.
The brewery is a family friendly venue and even have a toy box to entertain the kids while their parents enjoy a beer. They have a variety of food trucks that set up on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons to provide food. The brewery produces a core range of five beers with a regularly changing seasonal/special Beer added to the selection on a monthly basis. They have even made some barrel aged beers using local wine barrels and some from the local international award winning whiskey makers. The brewery is presently supplying beer to several local restaurants as well as having their bottled beer available around Albany. This will change when they expand as they have recently signed a contract to supply beer for distribution state wide through BWS and ALM liquor stores.
The beers that I sampled were:


1. Lighthouse, Session Ale, 3.6% abv, this has a golden colour and a malt aroma. It has a sweet malty taste and a crisp finish. Very easy drinking and sessionable.
2. Figurehead, Albany Blonde Ale, 4.9% abv, this has a golden colour and a sweet malt aroma. It has a nice sweet malt flavour with a clean, crisp, dry finish.
3. Stiff Mast, Albany Bitter, 5.2% abv, this English style bitter has a light amber colour and a sweet caramel malt aroma. It has a malt flavour of caramel and a subtle hint of chocolate on a very gentle bitter finish. Nice!
4. Rough Seas, Pale Ale, 5.8% abv, this has a hazy golden colour and a tropical fruit aroma. It has a lovely sweet fruitiness and then a mild bitter finish. Very enjoyable!
5. Lost Sailor, Dark Ale, 5.3% abv, this has a dark brown colour and a roasted coffee malt aroma. It has a wonderful roasted malt flavour of coffee and chocolate. Delicious!
6. Sailors Secret, Ginger Beer, 5.5% abv, this is a malt based beer that ginger has been added to with a golden colour and a spicy ginger aroma. It has a sweet malt and ginger flavour and is very easy drinking and refreshing.


7. Naughty Orca, Black Blonde, 6.0% abv, this is made with Pilsner and roasted barley malts and local mandarins, it has a dark amber colour and a citrus aroma. The flavour is of a sweet maltiness and a gentle citrus taste.


8. Woonjah Booyee, Quandong Red Ale, this specialty beer was made with the assistance of local Noongar elder Joey Williams, who collected the fruit and designed the artwork for the label. The name is Aboriginal for Love On The Rocks and it has a dark orange colour and a fruity malt aroma. It has a sweet fruity taste with a nuttiness and a gentle tart finish.

The Wilson Brewing Company is producing some fantastic beers and has a wonderful venue for having a relaxing drink. They have great plans for the future and should become a force in the Western Australian craft beer market. They are definitely worth trying to find if you can’t get down to Albany to sample them at the brewery.
I would like to thank Matty and Rob for their time and hospitality when I visited. I will certainly be back next time I am in the area.

 

Paul Cooke

Albany Brewing Company

On Wednesday the 20th of December I visited the Albany Brewing Company in Albany, Western Australia. This brewery is housed in the White Star Hotel that has a history of being a brewpub stretching back to the early 1900’s. At that time the hotel was owned and run by The White Star Shipping Company that was later acquired by the Cunard Line of cruise ships.
Before the Albany Brewing Company took over the brewery, just over twelve months ago, it was the Tangle Head Brewery. They had been operating in Albany for quite a few years. The hotel has a couple of bars, a restaurant that focuses on local food, wine and beer, and also regularly has live music.


The brewery produces a core range of six beers, those being; Ginger Beer, Pale Ale, Lager, Porter, Wheat Beer and a Hop Back Ale. Both the Ginger Beer and the Hop Back Ale are gluten free.
The beers that I sampled were:
1. Lager, 4.5% abv, this German Pilsner style beer has a golden straw colour and a subtle malt aroma. It has a sweet citrus and malt flavour and a gentle bitterness on a crisp dry finish.
2. Wheat, 5.0% abv, this German Hefeweizen has a straw colour and a banana and yeast aroma. It has a wonderful sweet fruity banana and wheat flavour. True to the style.
3. Pale Ale, 5.0% abv, this has a golden colour and a citrus aroma. It has a sweet malt taste and then a mild fruitiness on a gentle bitter finish.
4. Hop Back Ale, 5.2% abv, this gluten free Ale has a golden colour and a floral aroma. It has a mild fruitiness and bitterness on a crisp finish.

The beers produced by Albany Brewing Company are quite enjoyable and easy drinking. There is nothing confronting about any that I tried and they should all appeal to the mainstream beer drinkers.

 

Paul Cooke

Lucky Bay Brewery

On Friday the 15th of December I visited The Lucky Bay Brewery in Esperance, Western Australia. This brewery celebrated its second birthday yesterday. It was started and is run by Nigel Metz and Robyn Cail. They are both still maintaining full time employment in other jobs as well as running the brewery. They both work in agriculture in areas that are involved in improving grain quality. They have lived in Esperance since 2005 but both come from farming backgrounds. So doing something local and in their area of expertise was a logical decision.


A lot of work and research went into this brewery before they even poured a beer. In fact five years research was invested into the possibilities of brewing with raw barley.
Nigel’s job involved him in trying to get Esperance barley exported into Asia for beer making in place of the rice that was being used. This inspired him to see what he could do locally, using Western Australian barley, that is mostly exported. They undertook over thirty different brews before getting their recipes right. They now are the only brewery in Australia that uses 75% raw barley in their beer. The barley is grown in Scadden, 50 km north of Esperance, by the Egan family. Meaning that they produce the freshest beers available, coming straight from the local field to the brewery and through their mill into the beers. Their spent grain is then used as stock feed or as an ingredient in making sour dough by a local bakery.


The brewer, Adam Cope, also works full time as a school teacher. The brewery has its own canning machine to can fresh one litre cans but only one at a time. They also have growlers or kegs available if you are really thirsty. The beers are named after local landmarks or by local people.
The beers that I sampled were:


1. Sandy Hook, Barley Pale Ale, 4.5% abv, 25 IBU, this is made with 75% raw barley and has a golden colour and a malt aroma. It has a nice sweet malt taste and then a light bitterness on a gentle, citrus, crisp finish.
2. Thistle Cove, Scottish Ale, 3.4% abv, 16 IBU, this has an amber colour and a slightly spicy, sweet malt aroma. It has a complex malt flavour with hints of caramel and toffee on a mild bitter finish. Very easy drinking for this style of beer.
3. Skippy Rock, Kolsch, 5.5% abv, 26 IBU, this has a golden colour and a malt and subtle apple fruit aroma. It has a sweet malty taste and a slight apple and pear fruitiness with a spicy, crisp, dry finish.
4. Wharton Witbier, 4.6% abv, 20 IBU, this is made with 50% raw wheat and 50% raw barley and has a golden colour and a wheaty, yeast and banana aroma. It has a great wheat flavour with gentle citrus and spice notes. Refreshingly good.
5. The Homestead, Farmhouse Ale Saison, 6.0% abv, 25 IBU, this has a golden colour and a subtle citrus aroma. It has a nice yeasty flavour and a gentle spiciness on a dry finish. True to the style.
6. Cyclops, Indian Pale Ale, 6.0% abv, 45 IBU, this has an amber colour and a strong citrus and tropical fruit aroma. It is well balanced with a sweet malt and sweet tropical fruit flavour on a mild bitter finish. Very good and very easy drinking.
7. The Tanker, Dark Ale, 5.1% abv, 24 IBU, this has a dark amber colour and a roasted malt and smoked meat aroma. It has a wonderful complex malt flavour of caramel, coffee, chocolate, biscuit and smoked meat. Delicious!!

The Lucky Bay Brewery are producing some great beers, they have a great story, you can’t find anything fresher or friendlier to the environment as far as beer making goes in Australia. Truely wonderful, it is worth visiting Esperance just to try their beers.
I would like to thank Robyn for her hospitality when I visited.

 

Paul Cooke

Pirate Life

On Friday the 8th of December I visited Pirate Life Brewing in Hindmarsh, South Australia. This brewery was started three years ago by Jack and Michael Cameron and Red Proudfoot. Red had previously been at Cheeky Monkey in Western Australia. Their aim was to build a brewery that would become internationally recognised as quickly as possible. Red and Jack had always been brewing since the time they left high school. Pirate Life was their first combined attempt at doing what they really wanted to do.
They have rapidly reached the capacity of their Hindmarsh site and were in the process of considering expansion to another site in Port Adelaide when the recent takeover offer came out of nowhere. The takeover will not affect the way the brewery is run or the beers that they make. In fact the founders have been retained as directors and all the staff have continued in their usual roles. What it will mean is that they now have more money to play with. There has been $10 million put aside just for the development of the new Port Adelaide site. It has a floor space that is the size of a football oval and will include a bar area with thirty taps and a restaurant capable of seating three hundred people.
The present brewery consists of a three vessel 2500 litre brewhouse and twenty six fermentation tanks of 5000 litre and 10000 litre capacity. They brew twenty four hours a day from Monday to Friday. They have their own canning line capable of handling 100 cases of beer in forty minutes. 85% of their production goes into cans. They are also doing a bit of barrel ageing with some of these brews gaining some interesting additives in the way of figs or strawberries. The brewery also produces a lot of their own power requirements via an 80.8 kilowatt solar power system.
The beers that I sampled were:
1. Nelson Pilsner, 4.5% abv, this has an eight week lagering period, it has a golden colour and a sweet malt aroma. It has a nice malty flavour and a clean, crisp finish.
2. IIPA, 8.8% abv, this has a golden colour and a fruity tropical aroma. It has a sweet juicy fruit taste and a nicely balanced flavour of malt on a good, lingering hop bitterness.
3. Mosaic IPA, 7.0% abv, this has a golden colour and a sweet citrus aroma. It has a great sweet citrus fruity flavour. Delicious!
4. IPA, 6.8% abv, this has a golden colour and a citrus fruit aroma. It has a well balanced flavour of sweet malt and then a fruity citrus taste on a nice mild bitter finish.
5. Stout, 7.2% abv, this has a black colour and a roasted coffee malt aroma. It has a wonderful sweet malt flavour of espresso. Very nice!

I enjoyed all of the Pirate Life Brewing beers that I tried. They are making some really delicious brews and when their new venue is constructed next year they will be able to produce a lot more of them.
I would like to thank Ed and Matt for their time and hospitality when I visited.

Paul Cooke

Big Shed Brewing

On Friday the 8th of December I visited The Big Shed Brewing Company in Royal Park, South Australia. This brewery was started by Jason and Craig about four years ago. They had originally been home brewing in Jason’s shed, which is where the name originated. They held the business name for three years before finally deciding to get serious about opening their own brewery. They started by brewing part time in the evenings and on weekends as they both still had other full time jobs. They then moved into the front factory unit that had been the owners overflow storage space. They ordered a brewery kit from China and were so excited when it finally arrived that they hugged the delivery driver.
The brewery consists of a 1000 litre brewhouse, four 2000 litre, two 2500 litre and two 1000 litre fermentation tanks. They would like to have more but are at the limit of their usable space where they are. They also have their own compact six head bottling line.
They have five beers and a cider in their core range and make a varying selection of seasonal brews and special collaboration beers. They have been doing an annual collaborative brew with Doctors Orders, in 2015 this was an Imperial Sweet Potato Stout Saison at 10.5% abv. It sounds interesting.
They sell their packaged beers Australia wide at selected bottle shops.
They recently held their fourth birthday party and combined this with a fund raising event for a local community day care centre. It was attended by 350 people and raised $4000 for the day care centre.
The venue is not huge but still has a fair amount of room inside. They have a kitchen that has a great burger and bar food menu.
The beers that I sampled were:
1. Kols Chisel, 4.2% abv, this Australian style Pale Ale has a straw colour and a subtle malt aroma. It has a sweet malty taste with a slight fruitiness on a crisp finish.
2. F Yeah, 5.5% abv, this American style Pale Ale has a golden colour and a fruity citrus aroma. It has a well balanced sweet fruit and malt flavour and then a mild bitterness on the finish.
3. Californicator, 7.5% abv, this West Coast IPA has a golden colour and a sweet malty aroma. It has a great sweet fruity flavour and a generous hop bitter finish.
4. Big RIIPA, 10.2% abv, this Red Imperial IPA has a golden amber colour and a fruity malt aroma. It has a sweet, syrupy malt flavour and then a fruity bitterness on the finish.
5. Dr Shedlove 2017, 9.4% abv, this Imperial Stout was a collaboration brew with Doctors Orders, it is black with a dark head and a fruity roasted malt aroma. It has a wonderful sweet, rich fruit pudding and raisins flavour on a nice alcohol warming finish.
6. Cherry Popper, 8.5% abv, this apple and cherry cider has a pale pink colour and a slightly sour apple aroma. It has a sweet apple taste with a subtle hint of cherries.
7. Frankenbrown, 5.3% abv, this American Brown Ale has a black colour and a roasted malt aroma. It has a smooth, easy drinking malt palate with subtle hints of biscuit and coffee on a gentle hop bitter finish.
8. Brewer’s Series Mad Dog’s Big Shed Bare Bones Stout, 5.3% abv, this is black with a thick head and a chocolate roasted malt aroma. It has a great sweet malt flavour of chocolate and espresso. Damn good Stout!

Big Shed Brewing Company are producing some fantastic beers. The venue is great and the food is delicious. All in all this is a brewery that is definitely worth visiting.
– [ ] I would like to thank Craig for his time and hospitality when I visited.

Paul Cooke

Rehn Bier

On Wednesday the 6th of December I visited Rehn Bier Brewery and Bar in Tanunda, South Australia.

This brewery has been in operation for about five years but has only been in the Tanunda site for four weeks.

Initially all of their beers went into bottles, but as of last year they started kegging some as well. They make batches of between 500 litres and 800 litres at a time depending on the variety. All of the beers are unfiltered and made without preservatives. They use all Australian ingredients where possible.


They have a good selection of beers in their range but unfortunately I was not able to sample any or purchase any to take away and try later, due to licensing laws. They are available in selected outlets throughout the Barossa Valley and Adelaide.

Paul Cooke
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