Lecterfan SW WA brewery tour

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Lecterfan

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So...hit 5 breweries across the SW of WA this last Thursday.

Had a great time, sampled the lion share of the beers, but due to my own tastes and brewing-related-educational purposes I stuck mostly to sessional beers - pilsners, pale ales, alts, kolsch, with a sprinkle of darker beers and IPAS. I avoided 'wacky' or 'hybrid' beers and anything over %6 for my own reasons. Also, don't expect too many technical terms - I don't know them and don't care...but I do like to think I have half a palate, even if I don't know how to describe things haha.

First brewery was Cowaramup. Lovely setting, staff were a bit naive but lovely and well meaning (one glass had a massive crack in it, just waiting to make a mess of something or someone). The pils was great, hefe very good but a bit 'soft' and perhaps could have finished a touch drier, the 'special pale ale' was advertised as using MO and holdings...great hop flavour and a good malty aroma but due to commercial necessity/infrastructure was way too cold and a touch over carbonated for what could otherwise have been a very, very good beer. The IPA was a let down - no real aroma to speak of and was just a bit 'meh'. The porter was fine, albeit cold and fizzy like the other beers.

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Second was my highlight of the day, Colonial brewery. Without getting all wanky, the altbier was ******* amazing, as was the wit. The kolsch was very solid from the tap (I drank a slab of it from cans throughout the week while fishing), and their current project beer was a coopers red type thing that ticked the boxes. They had an IPA and darker beer from memory that I didn't try, but I had full pints of these other beers after tasting them from smaller glasses. I bought a 2L growler of the alt. We ended up having lunch here as I enjoyed the place and the beers so much. Good music (well...as good as could be expected and still appeal to everyone). It had a 'young' feel but also the feel of a place that was run by people who ******* love beer.
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Third was Cheeky Monkey. I'm not interested in running down places, but it was not for me at all - not the feel of the place, not the astringent, over carbonated beers (and not just o-c 'for style'...also off tap mind you), not the disinterested staff. They are also a winery and have won lots of awards for their beer, so clearly I'm a minority or something...try it for yourself sometime.
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However, my faith was restored by Duckstein brewery. As the name suggests, they have four primary beers: a pilsner, hefe, altbier, and dunkel. They also had the obligatory galaxy-ridden session ale. Great if you like galaxy. The Hefe was the best of the day, it had great aromatics and a really nice finish. The pils ticked the boxes, the alt was lovely - lighter in colour that the Colonial version and was a bit softer, perhaps slightly 'buttery' in a way that suited the beer admirably. The dunkel was great - still a touch too much roast character/flavour for my taste, I would've liked a bit more toffee/chocolate and less roastiness, but for the average drinker who just sees a 'dark beer', it was lovely.
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Finished the day off at Bootleg brewery - I'd been there before and enjoyed the beers so wasn't in a hurry to get there or to drown myself in the excellent raging bull dark ale or speakeasy IPA. Instead, I had a couple of very civilised pilsners and played pool with my gf on a pool table with a lot of 'character' given that it lived outside, under a veranda in arguably the most beer-drinker-friendly brewpub in WA (while I loved Colonial, you can always feel at home at Bootleg...while I was about to describe it as 'a bit rougher around the edges' than the others, my gf stated that she thought it suited me the most hahaha). as an older establishment, Bootleg has soul that the others are only just starting to build towards. Colonial and Cowaramup are very close, particularly Colonial...if it got over the 'new shiny trendy' feel a little bit it might take off with the 'rougher around the edges' crowd...but then again, that's probably not their aim. I was happy with Colonial nonetheless. Cowaramup might take a turn in either direct....Duckstein is also a winery and is quite flash...whether or not it has any soul (behind the great beers) is another question.
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Anyway, all up 'twas a great day and topped off a great trip - and I managed to miss my deadline for chapter 3 and ignore any number of work-related emails. Thanks, WA - see you again!
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Camo6

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Is that a sidecaster?
 

Cervantes

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Great write up.................

I've done the same tour myself and reckon that Colonial is the pick of the bunch. Closely followed by Bootleg.

The Pour House Pub in Dunsborough is also worth a look as it has a huge selection of beers from around the world.
 

Lecterfan

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Camo, LB fishing starts when you experience a shark on 30lb braid on a lever drag alvey.
 

droid

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I miss driving on beaches.

Thanks for the report, got the same bottle from colonial too

It's amazing that some breweries can exist with ordinary beer and service but yeah maybe the downhill slide is a slow one

Cheers
 

Superoo

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Great to hear Colonial still doing that awesome kolsch. I also got the growler so might have take the toy for a cruise down and fill er up.
The fishing talk's got me excited too...
Might have to chuck some rod holders on the ol girl...

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nala

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Just goes to show how our tastes vary...on my last visit to Colonial I bought a tasting paddle, had there been a free pint from anything on the paddle that I liked, I would not have taken the option.
I am not sure whether the head brewer at Cowaramup has changed in the past year, but attention to detail is no longer there in my opinion.
Eagle Bay brewery has always been my favourite for Pilsner along with Duckstein for anything Bavarian.
 

Lecterfan

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Yea, for sure - I should say in the sober light of day that many of the people I know wouldn't rave about Colonial the way I did up there, but, for me, it was precisely because they were quite subtle, well-made beers rather than anything 'outrageous' that they got my attention in the first place. As a home brewer I am always looking to brew, and then brew again, a really solid, subtle Euro-style beer of almost any sort. And I mean a really solid one - and I think they achieved that. They are, in many ways, remarkable beers due to their unremarkability and blew me away as such. Eagle Bay brewery didn't get a run from me as I was told I would have to order food and couldn't just have drinks. That attitude alone was bullshit.
 

droid

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is that extract only place still running in margs? I remember at the time it was ordinary but we're going back 10 years
 

Lecterfan

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Not sure mate - there is a U Brew It extract place in Busso...
 

danestead

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Absolutely spot on reviews. I could drink myself into an obese alco down there. I'm glad you enjoyed what the SW had to offer.
 

mfeighan

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I agree, nice reviews man. Yeah i love colonial, i think because its a bit quieter, more laid back and the beers are good too. The take home growler (or refill) you could get topped up at the royal, haven't been there for a while so dont quote me on it.
 

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