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.