CRAFT beer – two words that make us positively giddy with excitement.
‘Craft’, the activity of making things by hand, conjures images of artisans stooped over work benches, planing sumptuous beams of wood to be used in the construction of something beautiful.
‘Beer’ brings to mind long evenings of conversation, pocked with ribald jokes and spasms of laughter among the closest of friends – topped off with a kebab.
Perth’s beer scene has evolved a long way from the days of Swan Draught and Emu Export (the latter’s astonishing re-invention as the go-to brew of the hip set still astounds).
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A microbrewery is defined as one “which produces limited quantities of beer, typically for consumption on its own premises”.
We must make mention of the debt the craft brewing scene owes to Little Creatures, which set new standards in excellence for West Australian beer.
And the baton has been passed to a new generation, proudly keeping the craft beer spirit alive.
Here are our picks for the best drops around:
Founded in 2002 and nestled in the glorious Swan Valley, Feral has been churning out quality beers for 17 years. Feral is family owned and independent, and their range has evolved into five year-round brews as well as other specialty and seasonal beers. We reckon the Feral White is pretty close to paradise.
There are few things better than watching the sunset over the Indian Ocean nursing an American Pale Ale from the brewery that bears its name. Indian Ocean’s range is small, but spot-on – and the surrounds are just divine.
Recently celebrating its first birthday, The Island Brewhouse has been a welcome addition to Perth’s burgeoning craft brew scene. We haven’t tasted a bad beer from them yet, but if we were to pick a jewel in the crown it would be the Blonde Betty, a Belgian-style golden ale that demands repeat business.
This list could never be complete without everyone’s favourite former crocodile farm – Little Creatures was at the forefront of the craft beer revolution, and although the company is a far cry from the small group of mates who began the company in the year 2000, the quality of the beer remains first rate – especially the Rogers, which remains one of the all-time great mid-strength beers.
Master brewer Ken Arrowsmith is the man behind Northbridge Brewing Company’s superb Beerland range and the brewery has been producing top-quality drops since opening in 2014. The Beerland Wheat, a delicious take on a German wheat beer, is worth a trip there alone.
Named for the strip of ocean dividing Fremantle and Rottnest, Gage Roads has been steadily increasing its beautiful range of craft beers. In 2016, the company received its greatest honour when its Little Dove new world pale ale was crowned champion beer at the Australian International Beer Awards. One sip and you’ll know why. But no matter what beer it is you try – Single Fin, Sleeping Giant, Break Water – you’ll be glad you did. Unfortunately, Gage Roads is the only one of our best breweries that isn’t open to the public, but they’re in plenty of pubs throughout the metro area.