Jeremy Sambrooks / 28.06.12
Considering Western Australia’s justifiable claim to being the home of Australian craft beer, the Perth CBD has always been an infuriatingly difficult place to find a locally brewed pint. OK, the Adelphi Steakhouse now has Hop Hog on tap and Venn Bar has a nice selection of craft beer in bottles, but considering the wealth of choice in nearby Fremantle and the five Swan Valley breweries less than an hour’s drive away, Perth is an undeniable beery underachiever. Now, in an overdue spot of good news, there is a microbrewery operating in the Perth city centre for the first time since John Stallwood brewed his Nail beers out of the basement of the old Bobby Dazzler’s Ale House.
The Generous Squire opened on the corner of Shafto Lane in October 2009. Much like the James Squire pubs, such as the Portland Hotel in Melbourne and the Docklands and Hobart, The Generous Squire offers a relaxed setting to enjoy the full range of James Squire beers, as well as a number of other brews from the Lion portfolio. While happily admitting to enjoying the odd pint of Amber Ale, more interesting to this writer was the small and unused brewhouse located behind the bar. In subsequent years, I heard many speculate that the timber clad tanks were simply for show, there to give punters the impression of being in a brewery without actually producing any beer.
The truth of the matter is that The Generous Squire was always intended to be a brewery but, for years, the lack of a brewer’s license meant that the tanks remained empty. Finally, with the recent release of Shafto’s Reward Special Bitter, The Generous Squire can now rightfully call itself a brew pub and the only microbrewery in the Perth CBD.
Members of The Generous Squire’s Beer Club were the first to taste the new beer at a special pre-release tasting in April. The following day, the beer was made available to the general public exclusively from The Generous Squire.
Shafto’s Reward Special Bitter is a deep golden English-style bitter with a balanced nose of earthy, citrus and floral notes and a moderate level of bitterness that lingers after the firm malt backbone. Weighing it at a sessionable 4 per cent, it is made from a blend of Pale and Crystal malts as well as Stella, Fuggles and Galaxy hops. It has been selling well, although the brewers continue to make adjustments to the beer.
The men behind the brew are NSW based Rob Freshwater – the Malt Shovel brewer responsible for the quirky Mad Brewers’ special releases – and WA’s own Justin Fox, who now brews for Swan after starting out at The Monk in Fremantle, where he signed off by winning a trophy at the 2011 Australian International Beer Awards.
More brews are planned from The Generous Squire’s brewery, including Wheat Belt Australian White, which will be brewed in the witbier style with a high proportion of wheat, but using the Australian Lemon Myrtle as a substitute for the coriander and orange peel seasonings.
The Generous Squire is at 397 Murray St, Shafto Lane, Perth. Phone: (08) 6311 7071.
Thanks to Jeremy Sambrooks for this article. You can follow his adventures in the WA beer scene – and often further afield – on Twitter.