An update from 'The West' from Ale Star in Exile #S27.
Still sulking from missing my first Ale Stars night in over two and half years, not to mention the Octoberfest SpecTAPular, I thought I'd cheer myself up a little by boasting about an Ale Stars-inspired road trip I went on last weekend.
While Victorians were re-inflating their floaties for another water-logged weekend, West Australia turned on a cracking 28-30 degree 'drinking weather' weekend. The only answer was to visit a couple of craft breweries in the Ferguson Valley (near Bunbury, WA)
Brewery #1: Moody Cow
Tiered verandas overlooking a lush grassy flat and tree-lined stream made for a terrific vista and very 'family friendly' environment. As for the beer: expectations were high for the usual suspects in pilsner, pale, IPA, wheat and dark, and whilst fine, they lacked any real punch or character. Not to be unfair, these very sessionable brews were definitely crowd pleasers amongst the gathered patrons and perfect for the weather but left a couple of spoiled Ale Star regulars wanting a little more (I blame Ben from Bridge Road, and the recent NE Road Trip for unfairly raising the bar too high!). Interestingly, it was their citrus infused seasonal that defied my scepticism and was actually quite palatable (for a girly, lime in the top of a corona, pseudo cocktail, kind of drink of course!)
Brewery #2: Wild Bull
Not yet content, we decided to venture 'up the hill' in search of another glass. In an equally beautiful setting (views across the valley), the Wild Bull delivered on what we were after: Flavour! Across all varieties of Bitter, Irish Ale, Amber Ale and Stout full bodied maltiness generated a strong caramel taste, with ample hops balancing perfectly. Whilst I'm not convinced the live band playing under the shade marquee (15 decibels louder than optimal) was completely necessary, their unique rendition of Steve Earle's Copperhead Road did give it a country pub feel.
In summary, if visiting the South West WA, forget Margaret River… get over to the Ferguson Valley!
Next Update: Swan Valley.
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The Local Taphouse doesn't necessary share the opinions of the above Ale Star.