Kelv (back left, in his Ale Star shirt. Where's yours Josh, center front)
Ale Star-in-Exile, Kelv (#S27) just keeps on truckin'. It's not so long since his first update but here is his second - from his time in WA's Swan Valley :
As promised, a review of our epic Swan Valley brewery tour last weekend - this is definitely a must do when you guys get a spare few days - I've got a spare room if you need somewhere to crash! :)
Another perfect Perth weekend, another excuse for a craft brewery tour: this time it was in recognition of the visit of Ale Star #S16 (Josh) and fellow FOSBY member Nick.
Our over indulgence the afternoon/night before made for some weary heads on Sunday morning, so it was with a great deal of reluctance that we boarded the ‘Beer Nuts’ bus at 9.50am! [Of some slight concern also, was that fact that we seemed to be the only passengers for this trip!]
All cares and worries were quickly dispatched however when we arrived at Feral Brewing Company (where we were also joined by two more Beer Nuts, Steve and John). Fresh Swan Valley air and baking morning sun = pints of pilsner all round, and once again, all was good with the world. Having only an hour to explore the treasures of one of our favourite breweries, we had to step it up a little for the second round: welcome Dark Funk 2.0 - the new and improved model. Regular Ale Stars will be pleased to hear that also pouring on tap was ‘Raging Flem – the beer named by Prof. at our May session.
Over to Ironbark Brewing for lunch, where one of the quotes of the day was heard from a member of the party bus full of barely legal teens, dressed to the nines in full Halloween costumes: “Give me a jug of your cheapest beer!” Then came the reply: “We don’t sell jugs, and even if we did we wouldn’t sell one to you”. The revellers might not have known the first thing about craft beer but it was very entertaining to watch them learn.
Ironbark’s brews were not bad, the Munich lager one of note, but the consensus seemed to be that focusing on making a few good beers may yield better results then continuing with the 64 different brew currently being churned out!
The adventure continued at Elmar’s in the Valley, and this venue certainly divided opinions. Distinctly German in theme and featuring a large reception centre style restaurant and even larger open lawn out the back (home to many a music festival, it would seem), it lacked personality and character for mine, though was nominated as pick of the bunch by others. The quality of the cloudy Bavarian wheat beer was compromised by the crude plastic cups in which it was served, but then again, how many music festival venue actually serve high quality Bavarian wheat beer at all?
“Overdraft Alt Bier“ definitely in the votes.
Down the road to Ducksteins – the poor cousin of the brewer’s Margaret River establishment. The quality of beer here certainly was no poor cousin though, and again an alt bier was one of the favourites. Best on ground however (for my money at least) was the seasonal “FestBeer” (…it was still October).
Finally to Mash Brewing, the most contemporary of the bunch (as demonstrated by not only the design of the facility itself, but the taste and branding of the beers). Mash was the only brewery on the trip to highlight and celebrate the actual brewing equipment in full view right behind the serving bar, and this certainly reminded us that the day was all about the beer. The Sgt. Pepper Golden Ale was dry-ish and refreshing, and apparently is brewed with fresh citrus peel, while the last beer of the day and recommended by the brewer himself: the humble Pale Ale.
Cracking trip, with enough gems left behind untried for a full-blown Ale Stars Road Trip in the near future!
Press play below for the full slideshow: