Blackwood Valley Brewing Company

On Thursday the 12th of April I visited The Blackwood Valley Brewing Company in Bridgetown, Western Australia. This microbrewery is part of The Cidery, a venue that has a restaurant and produces ciders, beers and wines all on the one site. They have ten beers and eight ciders on tap as well as having some special brews in bottles and their own red, white and sparkling wine.
This brewery was one of the pioneers of the craft beer industry in this area, opening eighteen years ago. All of the owners/partners are still involved with the running of the business. The brewer/cider maker is Mark Hollett, he has been with the brewery for the past fifteen years. His main focus in the beer brewing is UK style ales and he does these exceptionally well. The range of beer produced is extensive and seasonal changes are made to suit the climate changes of the region from season to season.
The beers that I sampled were:

1. Summer Ale, 3.9% abv, this has a light straw colour and a citrus aroma. It is a crisp, easy drinking beer with a mild fruitiness. This is a great sessionable summer beer.
2. Alpha Tango, 4.6% abv, this is a New World Pale Ale with a golden colour and a subtle sweet fruit aroma. It has fruity flavour with a mild bitterness on a crisp finish. Very nice.
3. All Australian Pale Ale, 5.2% abv, this has a light straw colour and a passionfruit and citrus aroma. It has a sweet tropical fruit flavour with a gentle bitter finish.
4. Harvest Ale, 7.0% abv, this is an American style Pale Ale that is made with locally sourced hops. It has a dark amber colour and a caramel malt aroma with a complex biscuit malt and fruity flavour before a mild but lingering bitter finish.
5. Irish Red Ale, 5.2% abv, this beer was originally made for St Patrick’s Day but was so popular it became part of the core range. It has a dark amber colour and a subtle malt aroma. The flavour is of caramel and toffee on a clean, crisp finish. It was awarded a Silver Medal at the International Beer Awards in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
6. Stout Porter, 5.5% abv, this has a black colour with a dark brown head and a coffee malt aroma. It has a rich, full flavour with tastes of roasted coffee and dark chocolate on a sweet, smooth, creamy finish. Wow! It has been awarded a trophy for International Champion Stout in 2009 at the International Beer Awards, won five gold medals and was named WA Best Beer in 2007 at the Perth Royal Beer Show Awards.
These next four beers were poured from the hand pump.
7. Special Bitter, 5.2% abv, this has a golden colour and a fruity aroma. It has a well balanced flavour of sweet malt with a moderate bitterness on the finish. It has been awarded gold medals at the Perth Royal Beer Show 2010 + 2017, as well as bronze medals at the Australian International Beer Awards 2013 + 2017.
8. Nut Brown, 4.2% abv, this has a dark brown colour and a strong nutty, caramel aroma. Fantastic nut flavours dominate this beer, it is sweet, nutty and delicious. Very, very drinkable.
9. Autumn Ale, 6.2% abv, this has a dark amber brown colour and caramel and toffee aromas. It has a lovely sweet malt flavour with an earthy, slightly smoky background taste. These wonderful flavours last on the palate.
10. Old Ale, 6.0% abv, this is an aged ale that is cellared for up to 24 months, it has a black colour and a sweet, spicy aroma. It has a complex malt flavour that is sweet with strong hints of smoky peat and nuts. Rich, delicious and very easy drinking.
The next two beers are specialty ales.
11. Blackwood Chestnut Ale, 5.5% abv, this has a dark brown colour and a sweet nutty, caramel aroma. It has a roasted chestnut flavour in a smooth brown ale and is incredibly drinkable. Yum! It was awarded a gold medal at the 2017 International Beer Awards.
12. Blackwood Truffle Ale, 6.0% abv, this has a dark brown colour and an earthy, chocolate and sweet toffee aroma. It has a wonderfully complex flavour that is earthy, spicy and fruity. Very unique and amazing. It was awarded a silver medal at the 2017 International Beer Awards.

All of the beers were fantastic and very true to their styles. I really enjoyed them all and strongly recommend visiting The Blackwood Valley Brewing Company if you are in the Bridgetown area.
I would like to thank Mark for his time and hospitality when I visited.