Another sunny weekend in Perth delivered the Fremantle BeerFest, WA’s largest beer festival. This years event hosted over two hundred beers over two days in the pine tree dotted park between Little Creatures Brewing Fremantle and the Esplanade Hotel.
Goodtimes arrived Sunday lunchtime with a pre-purchased ticket to a very relaxed and well organised event. Punters I talked to that attended Saturday noted that the second day was far more comfortable.
Over a thousand beer loving people attended the event which highlights the growth in craft beer and beer appreciation in general. It’s so large that the Esplanade Hotel ran ‘BeerFest’ hotel packages for the weekend that included two days admission and necessary supplies.
Bands played all afternoon on the main stage and there were laughs a plenty in the Comedy Tent. The inclusion of a kids play area really made this a family friendly festival.
The free master classes from like the Seafood & Beer Matching session by Mitch from Beersine were well informative and well attended. I dropped into a session on Yeast run by the Little Creatures crew. It’s amazing how much these ‘little creatures’ contribute to the overall characters of beer.
The ‘Backyard to Bottleshop’ amateur brewing competition was supported by Gage Roads Brewing. It gives amateur brewers a chance to have their homebrew beer produced on a commercial scale.
Last years winner Jeremy Sambrooks found his ‘Rapid Fire’ American IPA in bars and bottleshops around Australia. He was also part of the judging panel for this years event. It will be interesting to see who wins this years competition.
Regular festival breweries like Feral Brewing, Little Creatures and Nail Brewing were all busy stands but it was the smaller guys that I wanted to catch up with.
The Northbridge Brewing Company presumably caught the Fremantle line train to the event with their new Mango Wheat Beer. The 100% Mango extract is being sought from a supplier in Bibra Lake and if the queues to get are any indicator it will part of the core range soon.
I was keen for experiences and beers it hadn’t had before like Cocktail Gastronomy Satellite Bar. This teepee tent was filled with all kinds of experimentation in crafted beer cocktails. Lab coats and Bunsen burners aside this was something really interesting and delicious.
As I approached the stand I wondered why the Old Brewery hasn’t been on my radar before. It has an amazing location and provenance but somehow I’ve missed its charms. That oversight was righted with a chat with Head Brewer Mark Reilly and some of his wonderful beers. The double punch of Tommahawk Dopplebock and Tommahawk IPA, both 7.2% ABV, show the high brewing level that is happening under Perth’s nose.
Interestingly the theme amongst my favourites was well crafted mid-range ABV beers. The Old Brewery’s Pale Ale was in my picks of the day. Resinous, balanced and yet clean, this is a beer I need to have more of.
I was lucky enough to meet fellow beer blogger the Beer Pilgrim. It was great to chat with Tim about his experience traveling and writing about beer. He was also impressed by the layout and quality of the event. Hopefully we’ll bump into each other again soon.
The South-West of WA was well represented. Beers from Colonial Brewing , Eagle Bay Brewing, Cheeky Monkey Brewing Co, Cowaramup and the Margaret River Ale Co were all flowing. It really shows the boom of craft beer in the South-West.
The Margaret River Ale Company is a new brewery for me. Based in the iconic Settlers Tavern they produce a Pilsner, a White Ale, an IPA and the Pale Ale pictured below. The Rockin’ Pale Ale uses Pride of Ringwood and Cascade hops to create balanced, approachable beer. I could see a few of these being drunk in the Settlers Tavern courtyard!
My beer of the day came from the Last Drop Brewery. Their Sour Cherry Saison was the perfect refresher for the warm afternoon. Little did I know it was 6.6% ABV.
Head Brewer Jan Brucker noted that they use unfermented sour cherries in a vacuum sealed process which are then added to Last Drops’ farmhouse Saison.
The Fremantle BeerFest rates as the best beer festival WA has to offer and it is already marked on the Goodtimes calendar for next year!