Gage Roads

The Gage Roads brewing team is made up of self confessed "Fussy Bastards" who form part of an Australian brewery with a story unlike any other. Since first hitting the market in 2005 with a team led by well known WA brewer Bill Hoedemaker - formerly found at the now-defunct Sail & Anchor brewery - they've gone from brewing startup to something approaching a household name.

In part, this is thanks to Woolworths, who took a 25 per cent share in what was a struggling brewery in 2009, with their investment ultimately enabling an 18-month upgrade project that began in 2012. The original, cobbled together brewery, a hotspot of salvaged and second-hand equipment fitted inside a former margarine factory - was replaced with a state-of-the-art Krones CombiCube B brewhouse: a German designed and built brewhouse for the serious craft brewer that pushed Gage Roads into new territory. The computerised set up allows a greater degree of control over each step of the brewing process and enabled the brewers to increase their daily brewing capacity from 3,000 to 10,000 hectolitres a day.

Today, it allows Gage Roads to run a two-pronged operation. Under the Gage Roads banner - the name taken from the strip of ocean that runs between Fremantle and Rottnest Island - they release a core range of ales and lagers designed with sessionability in mind. These include the Sleeping Giant English IPA and a mid-strength Czech-style pilsner that have both won trophies at the Perth Royal Beer Show. The range is embellished by occasional, often more experimental and always colourfully presented, limited releases such as The Convict, their seasonal pumpkin ale and the 2014 collaboration Rapid Fire IPA? with WA amateur brewing champion (and occasional Crafty Pint contributor) Jeremy Sambrooks.

The other side of the operation sees them brew beers under contract for a number of other well-known Australian beer brands, including Two Birds, Matso's and McLaren Vale. Responsibility for brewing beers bearing the Sail & Anchor name has also returned to the man who used to brew them back at the Fremantle brewpub. After a short period during which Sail & Anchor branded beers were brewed at Feral in the Swan Valley, they were moved to Gage Roads by brand owner Pinnacle Drinks.

The result is that, since the closure of the Swan Brewery, this combination of brewing their own beer and contract brands makes the Palmyra brewery the largest by volume in WA.

Name
Gage Roads
Address

14 Absolon St
Palmyra
WA 6157

Phone
08 93140000
Website
Hours

9am to 5pm

Tours

By appointment

Gage Roads Regulars

Gage Roads Single Fin

What with their part ownership by Woolworths and ability to sell beer through the company's retail arms at prices most craft brewers can only dream of (sub-$45, 24 bottle cases of Atomic Pale Ale in Dan's on one recent visit), Gage Roads occupy a rather idiosyncratic spot in the local beer landscape. Yet, as their shortlisting for the Champion Large Australian Brewery title at the 2015 Australian International Beer Awards (a title that went to 4 Pines) suggests, they're making quality beer. Their… Read more
Style
Summer Ale
Strength
4.5%

Gage Roads Narrow Neck Session Ale

Narrow Neck is one of the new additions to the Gage Roads range that appeared towards the end of 2014 and our pick of the brewery's core range. The tag "Session Ale" is likely to make the one-two punch of piney and marmaladey US hops that hits you straight up come as quite the surprise. Similar hop flavours, leaning more towards the pine, follow alongside some welcome caramel malts. "So where's the session side of things?" you might ask. It comes in two ways: for a start, there's… Read more
Style
Session Ale
Strength
3.9%

Gage Roads Breakwater Australian Pale

As the Gage Roads range has expanded, it has been – as one might expect given the brewery's ethos – a case of moving in shades or semi-tones rather than leaping from one bold statement to another. The Australian Pale Ale sits ABV and style wise between the Narrow Neck Session Ale and long-established Atomic US Pale but in character is probably more a halfway point between the Lager and Atomic. For while it bears the tag Australian Pale, it's such a restrained beer that one might put it alongside… Read more
Style
Australian Pale Ale
Strength
4.5%

Gage Roads Premium Mid Pils

When you're brewing for the frequently sweltering and bone dry Western Australian beer market, chances are you're going to want a midstrength in your lineup and this is where Gage Roads' Mid comes in. The brewers aim to combine midstrength with a Czech pilsner, something WA stablemates The Monk do with panache, with the result an insanely, brilliantly bright pale lager with hints of malt sweetness, lemon hop aromas and esters upfront. They all disappear off the palate in the sort of quick clean up… Read more
Style
Midstrength Pilsner
Strength
3.5%

Gage Roads Small Batch Lager

One of two green bottled lagers in the Gage range with the more mainstream drinker in mind, the Small Batch Lager is the bigger and marginally deeper in hue of the pair. And like its little sibling, the Mid Pils, it clearly takes European lagers as it's starting point, with the faintest touch of soft, floral hops blending with sweet pale malts. A spritzy carbonation ensures it lives up to the "Crisp" claim on the bottle, while any bitterness is kept to a minimum.… Read more
Style
Lager
Strength
4.7%

Gage Roads Atomic Pale Ale

Gage Roads' take on the American Pale Ale style pours the brightest of bright oranges and uses a combination of US hops (Citra, Ahtanum and Centennial) to deliver what you'd expect of such a beer in a polished, approachable manner. There are some delicate citrus and pine aromas and fruity, grassy hop flavours that sit alongside the caramel grain flavours, with a restrained and drying bitterness tying things together.… Read more
Style
American Pale Ale
Strength
4.7%

Gage Roads Sleeping Giant IPA

There are IPAs aplenty being brewed across Australia these days but few that look to the UK rather than the US for inspiration. The Sleeping Giant goes back to the style's roots, resulting in a beer with a slow-building but big and broad, earthy bitterness. It opens with distinctly earthy and faintly floral hop aromas and offers up orange marmalade hop flavours that sit alongside nutty, burnt caramel and woody malts to offer IPA lovers an alternative from the punchy US-inspired hop bombs.… Read more
Style
English IPA
Strength
5.4%

Gage Roads Specials

Gage Roads Sea Devil Imperial Stout

Tapped June 23rd, 2017
Those who'd been paying attention closely for a while would have noticed something afoot. With Gage Roads' last rebrand of a few years ago came reworked recipes and a couple of new beers, none of which might have set a beer geek's world on fire, but were nonetheless fine examples of their styles, and were augmented by well received limited releases. Yet the surprise that many experienced when the WA brewery was called onstage to collect the 2016 Champion Australian Beer trophy was both palpable and… Read more
Style
Imperial Stout
Strength
9.0%
Bitterness
70 IBU
Stockists

And other good beer stockists

Gage Roads Rhubarb Gose

Tapped March 7th, 2017
It's fair to say that those who'd been following the Gage Roads story up until a year or two ago wouldn't have expected to see a gose leaving the brewery anytime soon. Then again, who would have put money on them taking out Champion Australian Beer at last year's Australian International Beer Awards? Thus it is that Gage Roads continues its merry path of expectation puncturing with its first limited release of 2017. The Rhubarb Gose is a draught only release brewed with rhubarb roasted in house at… Read more
Style
Rhubarb Gose
Strength
4.5%
Stockists

Jimmy's Tap & Barrel

Gage Roads Little Dove

Tapped September 30th, 2016
It's been quite a year for WA's Gage Roads, the little brewery that grew large aided by Woolies investment and is now "Returning to Craft" by taking back the retail giant's 25 percent share. Mostly, it's likely to be remembered for an evening in May when eyebrows were raised and jaws dropped in equal measure when they took out Champion Australian Beer at the prestigious Australian International Beer Awards. Chances are that few in the room would have plumped for Gage Roads beforehand if… Read more
Style
Pale Ale
Strength
6.2%
Stockists

Becoming available nationwide on tap and in bottle

Gage Roads Dale's Saison

Tapped September 3rd, 2015
Thanks to the backing of Woolies, Gage Roads has gone in the past few years from small WA startup to the state's biggest brewer by volume. Yet for its latest limited release batch it's shining a light on brewing's grassroots. For its "Backyard to Bottleshop" venture, the brewery invites home brewers to compete for the right to have their recipe brewed on a large, commercial scale and sold nationwide. The 2015 contest invited entrants to come up with the perfect summer beer and the beer… Read more
Style
Saison
Strength
5.8%
Stockists

On tap and in good bottleshops around WA

Outside WA, all sales are being directed through BeerBud

Gage Roads & Jeremy Sambrooks Rapid Fire IPA

Tapped June 2nd, 2014
If WA brewers have a habit of produce repeat winners at the annual Australian International Beer Awards, it would seem that the state's home brewers aren't too dissimilar. At the 2012 and 2013 Perth Royal Beer Show, Jeremy Sambrooks - avid home brewer and occasional contributor to this and other beer media - took out titles in the amateur brewing championships and then added the Battle of the Brew title at a competition to brew US-inspired IPAs held at Freo's Sail & Anchor. His prize for the… Read more
Style
American IPA
Strength
6.3%
Bitterness
60 IBU
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