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Crafty Pint

Your Guide to Australian Craft Beer / Thursday 28 August 2014

Cowaramup Brewery (WA)

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Jeremy Good came to Western Australia from the UK as a 21-year-old on a year’s working visa. Nearly three decades later, he’s still there, much to the delight of the beer drinkers of the Margaret River. Having fallen in love with his new country, he decided to abandon a career in IT in 2006 to focus on his real passion: brewing. It was something he’d always done in his spare time, beavering away to create the classic British ale styles he’d grown up drinking, and which he’s now doing commercially with some aplomb if the Champion Lager trophy for his Pilsner at the 2011 Australian International Beer Awards is anything to go by.

Located on farmland owned by his in-laws on which he and wife Claire grow a few hop varieties, Cowaramup Brewery is a small, family-run business dedicated to serving its local community and sends only a very small number of kegs to an even smaller number of venues in the region. Established with the help of Brendan Varis, from Feral, where Jeremy used to help out on weekends before striking out on his own, it maintains a traditional approach to its beers; while some microbreweries are chasing ever weirder creations, the aim at Cowaramup is to perfect their existing range of beers, with just the very occasional seasonal release to bolster the lineup.

As for the brewery itself, it’s a family-friendly set up with an 800l brewhouse in one of the Margaret River region’s quieter spots. The bar and restaurant area boasts great views over the surrounding countryside, while there’s a large beer garden and kids' play area. The kitchen knocks out food designed to go well with beer: pizzas, beer-battered fish and chips, ploughman’s and so on.

Since opening, Jeremy’s won over the locals, helped keep the large British expat community in WA happy with his traditional British styles and is attracting growing numbers of tourists. What’s more, following the Champion Trophy, he’s even had to give in and agree to send his beers interstate.

Regulars

Cowaramup Pilsner

Brewer Jeremy Good originally decided to brew this German style pilsner because he figured he needed a lager on his lineup to attract the locals who had grown up drinking little else. Refined a little over the years and always treated with the respect a lager needs – conditioned for seven weeks before being released – it picked up the Champion Lager trophy at the 2011 Australian International Beer Awards, much to the brewer’s surprise as he prefers his ales. Brewed with perle and tettnanger hops and 100% Australian barley, it’s a true-to-style pilsner that’s set to spend even more time hogging tanks space at Cowaramup.

Style: German Pilsner

Cowaramup Special Pale Ale

The beer Cowaramup founder Jeremy Good regards as “his beer” a tribute to his favourite British beers, it’s a traditional Extra Special Bitter brewed with generous amounts of Maris Otter barley and English hops resulting in a full flavoured bitter ale that’s popular with the locals.

Style: English Extra Special Bitter
Strength: 4.4%

Cowaramup Hefeweizen

The second of two beers on the year-round Cowaramup lineup that looks to Germany for inspiration, this time to Bavaria. A refreshing, unfiltered beer with subtle banana, clove and bubblegum aromas, it’s a fruity, easy-drinking thirst quencher and one of the most popular beers at the brewery.

Style: Hefeweizen

Cowaramup India Pale Ale

One of two beers on the Cowaramup roster that hark back to the beers the brewer grew up with in the UK. The India Pale Ale is a stronger, hoppier beer than the Special Pale Ale with a bigger bitter finish.

Style: India Pale Ale
Strength: 5.7%

Specials

Cowaramup Lightsign 2012

When The Crafty Pint last called into Cowaramup, it was the height of summer and this beer, named by brewer Jeremy Good’s daughter and only just brewed for the first time, was the one we kept going back to more than any other. A beautifully hopped, summery ale, it’s been brought out of retirement in time for summer again. Crafty contributor Pia Poynton wasted little time getting a taste of the new batch, describing it as “perfect in the beer garden under a shady umbrella”. She adds it’s: “Bursting with apricot aromas and some grassiness, the taste is floral and lemony with a subtle bitter finish.” Wonder what Blur’s Alex James made of it when he dropped in…?

Available:

Cowaramup

Style: Summer Ale
Strength: 4.5%

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Cowaramup Lightsign

The current holder of the Champion Lager trophy from the Australian International Beer Awards (awarded for his excellent pilsner) doesn’t release new beers very often. Jeremy Good, the co-founder and brewer at Cowaramup in WA’s Margaret River region, prefers instead to work on perfecting his range of traditional English and German styles. Yet, in a rare break from cover, he has knocked up a batch of a beer for summer that takes its name from an idea his daughter Bethany had years ago when they were in the process of setting up the brewery. The result is a summer ale made with Aussie Stella hops that give it a lightly floral and lemony aroma; in the mouth those citrusy hop characters return against a light malt backbone in a beer that’s rather too quaffable and, as is typical with Jeremy’s beers, clean as a whistle.

Available:

Cowaramup

Style: Summer Ale

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