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.