With 55 breweries to its name—including the country’s first-ever brew pub—Western Australia is an undisputed craft-beer powerhouse. The scene started brewing more than 30 years ago, with the opening of the Sail & Anchor Hotel in Fremantle, just north of Perth. The trend took a few years to catch on but the once laid-back port town is now a craft-brewing hub, with the likes of Little Creatures and Gage Roads converting old warehouses into international success stories.
At an old crocodile farm on Fremantle’s waterfront, a group of friends began designing recipes for an American pale ale. From there they tackled the brand’s now signature Amber Ale—and never looked back. Today Little Creatures boasts a main brewery, which offers visitor tours, plus the Brewhouse bar and a bistro-lounge. Its Northern German–style Pilsner recently won top honors at the prestigious CBIA (Craft Beer Industry Association) awards. Not bad for such humble beginnings.
This family-owned craft microbrewery sits just 20 km outside Perth, where its beer experts experiment with all sorts of hops, spices and fruits to create some really uniquely flavored beers. Take Fanta Pants with passion fruit and pineapple, or Nan’s Driving with jasmine and green tea. The on-site restaurant has a rotating menu of 16 beers on tap, plus complementary farm-to-table plates and Swan Valley panoramas.
With 18 taps featuring a constant rotation of brews, plus a long list of bottles, Petition certainly aims to have something to suit every taste. And when you pull up a stool in its Beer Corner’s rustic-chic interior, you really feel like you’re adopting the hipster way of life with each sip. For all the effort that goes into its libations, just as much goes into the menu that focuses on local produce served up in a quirky, fun manner.
There’s no escaping DTC’s Dutch heritage—or its love of the hop! Add this to your beer crawl if you’re a lover of international craft brews on tap, and Dutch-inspired food. Check out DTC’s Facebook page for its regular meet-the-brewer events, something that gives this spot the real edge over its neighbors. That and the attached bottle shop that stocks over 100 beers, ready to take away…
Everything tastes better with a view, right? That’s surely the thinking behind Bob’s Bar, a rooftop venue atop a former newspaper printing hall. The theme is continued throughout, with a staircase leading to the roof that’s lined with newspapers. The craft beers (and cider) on tap are all local, the cans are international, the cocktails are dangerous and all the food is Creole.
This heritage-listed turn-of-the-century pub is a Fremantle icon that has the honor of being Australia’s first brew pub. Wood-paneled walls, a spiral staircase, arched stained-glass windows and a pressed-tin ceiling all add to the ‘olde worlde’ atmosphere. Then there’s the beer: 40 cold taps, three hand pumps and four bars are what have kept the Sail & Anchor in business for more than 30 years.
Head south from Perth to the Margaret River region and you’ll find not just wine but a few excellent craft-beer spots. The Pour House in Dunsborough offers 12 rotating locally crafted beers on tap, along with a modern bistro-style menu—and an enticing summer pop-up that’s all about American barbecue. This place is definitely big on flavor.
A destination worth the travel, Eagle Bay comprises a microbrewery, restaurant and vineyard on a family-run farm in the Margaret River region. Managed by three siblings, the property has been in the family since the 1950s and is still a working farm—so you can be sure that you’re getting the freshest of local produce. Beers are brewed on site, wine is from its own vineyard and the menu is based on seasonal ingredients from the kitchen garden. Pure bliss, matched by views of the Indian Ocean.
Served on the border of Margaret River’s Bramley National Park, the craft brews at Colonial pay a lot of dues to the rugged, diverse terroir they inhabit: It’s as much about the chilled way you enjoy a beer here as it is about what you’re drinking. The core craft range is limited but packs a punch, delivering everything from multilayered Germanic malts to lighter citrus flavors. Garden pub food adds to the rural feel of the place. Colonial also has a new urban brew house in Melbourne.
If you’re still thirsty, Four Points by Sheraton Perth offers a good selection of craft beers in The Best Brew Bar & Kitchen.
Photos: Little Creatures Brewery