A VISIT TO SOME OF W.A’s. MICRO BREWERIES AND PUBS

I am trying to find a way of communicating my interests and views of the world of beer and how best to describe my level of interest. Maybe a beer enthusiast, perhaps a student with an interest in beer tourism, is as good as any. I am by no means an expert and certainly no connoisseur and hopefully not a beer snob. I am not trying to tell people what to drink to where to drink it.
My daughter and fellow enthusiast and I have just visited eight micro breweries or brew houses and a few pubs in WA .The experience was very rewarding, and I thought that most of the breweries where excellent and I have finished with a list of the breweries and some of my personal views of them.
There are some things I don’t understand though. At three of the breweries I asked what the temperature the beer was being poured at and the answers where the same.
One brewer told me that “it broke a brewer’s heart to serve beer at the temperature he was, two others said “too cold”.
One brewer gave the reason that the systems where expensive. Too much to have an individual system for every beer, this is probably true but still resulted in not being able to taste the beer at its best. We spent a lot of time sitting in cold breweries with our hands wrapped around near freezing beers trying to bring them up to a temperature where it could actually be tasted, it was either that or leave it sitting on the table for twenty minutes or so, warming up but going flat.
Another brewer said that it was what the majority of drinkers wanted also probably true. What I don’t understand though is if a brewer puts heart and soul into coming up with what he thinks is a great beer, if he puts passion, experience time effort and presumably money, lots of money into the product, then why is he prepared compromise? How is it that he is prepared to put up with the knowledge that those who might know what to expect view his efforts as substandard?
Obviously a brewery has to be financially viable and has to appeal to the masses but it seems as though this means putting the beer enthusiast and students after the mass market.
Another question which puzzles me, is why a brewery will often allow a beer they are trying to highlight run out. This has happened at least four places I have visited lately. I realise that these beers are often seasonal but surely the brewers know when their high season is and be prepared.
At one place I was told that the keg of their highlighted beer had run out and wouldn’t be replaced until the next day. Why? Didn’t anybody know how to tap a keg there? (I was recently told this at J. Squires in Sydney too but then I was told that their IPA was much like a VB. I wrote and told them this story but they weren’t interested enough to answer)
I was at one brewery which told me that because they where so busy they where not running tasting that day and I would have to come back tomorrow. So I tried their range of beers in middy sized glasses and came back the following day. I was going to revisit one of the beers that I had liked, but before buying a couple of bottles to take home I asked if I could taste one the beers just to be sure. I was told that no! I couldn’t as the till was not capable of dealing with single sale tastes prices. What sort of a response is that?
Unlike most wine celler door tastings Breweries charge for tastings, they charge a lot, anywhere from $10 to $12 for a selection of maybe five beers, seven in one brewery, four and a cup of olives in another. Here’s a question for you, how is it that five tastings between 80mls and 100mls per glass cost $12.00 a middy costs $6.00 and a six pack of 330ml stubbies cost $21.00. That appears to make the stubbies the best value. I am not sure about pints because I was driving I had to avoid them but I think they where double the cost of a middy.

BREWERIES

Bootleg Brewery Margaret River.
This a great place to visit, they had seven beers on their list but there was an eighth beer which was all but finished and one of the others was in the process of being replaced. Even though it was very busy we got good service from the bloke behind the bar who knew his brew and I talked to the brewer the next day.

Bush Shack Brewery: Margaret River
Another place well worth the visit, this was a great place, a nice location, nice people and nice beers, places to sit and music playing some very good beers at this brewery.

Cowaramup Brewery; Cowaramup.
Has five beers and I think should definitely be on the visit list, we where there very early so it was the quietest brewery we visited, though we go the impression that they expected it to hot up.

Occys Brewery: Vasse;
This place wasn’t on my brewery list, I don’t think I had even heard about it and I had a lot of trouble finding it but I am glad we made the effort because it was a nice place and the people behind the bar helpful. They had seven beers on their list, one they called a Mexican I liked a lot.
Colonial Brewery Margaret River.
I don’t think I saw this place at its best, the place was full of princesses drinking wine young men knocking back jugs children running all over the place and one of their five beers off the list which in the tasting board was replaced by a small bowl of olives, I don’t know if this was supposed be a fair swap but I wasn’t particularly impressed

Mad Monk Brewery Fremantle:
It looked a bit like a trendy hangout to me and I wasn’t too sure about it at first. After I got used to the look of this place it turned out to be a good place with some good beers. The staff was friendly and knew a bit about the beers and the brewery.

Sail and Anchor; Fremantle,
Calls itself a brew house and was very good I enjoyed their beers and had a good meal there and the staff where very friendly

Duckstein’s Brewery Margaret River
This is also a winery and a restaurant; it was very busy and chaotic the menu looked good but very pricey but if you hadn’t booked you weren’t going to get in so that didn’t matter but as far as the brewery was concerned it was even more chaotic, they had run out of glasses, one of the beers had run out and the staff didn’t seem to know what they where pouring and if they did they didn’t have time to talk to you. While I don’t think there was anything wrong with their beers I don’t recall an outstanding one.

Little Creatures, Fremantle:
I left this till last because as far as I am concerned it is the last and the least. I am glad I went because it consolidated what I thought it was going to be like and that is a big fast food style place showing no interest in the beer. The place was busy but then so was every where else. There seemed to be more people drinking wine and soft drink than beer, those that where old enough to drink that is as at least half the customers where children and this is supposed to be a brewery. Only one of the restaurants’, and I think there are three, was open, which didn’t do beer tastings, this was done in the merchandising section next door and the most exciting thing there was the embroidered knickers

Moon and Sixpence Perth
This is an English theme pub and almost the highlight of the trip. It had the biggest range of British beers on tap I have seen anywhere in Australia so far, and I am rapidly becoming a fan of them. I was told by the young Scottish lass behind the bar that I had the best Belhaven Scottish Ale ever pulled in Australia and I am not one to argue with a pretty barmaid.The beers where expensive but then all the beers where expensive even the local commercial brews except oddly enough for the pubs in Margaret River.

Bobby Dazzlers Perth
This place is part of the group who own the Moon and Sixpence and is advertised as an Aussie Ale House. We went into this bar had one vastly overpriced and boring beer and left and that is all I can be bothered to write. Yes I can,we had a Redback and the petunia behind the bar put a lemon in it saying how that is how it is always served. Perhaps somone should pour beer on his fruit salad and ice cream.
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