There could be no better name for the company.
For a start, Innate is a play on words that summarises the WA brewery’s foundations: it was launched by four couples, making the "8" or "eight" of the title. Yet, taken literally, the name also described Innate's ideology, with its owners keen that all of their beers come with an innate Fremantle feel.
“The owners are very much influenced by Fremantle; they all drink there, I live in Freo, and we deal with a lot of pubs in the area,” says brewer Joel Nash, who was brought in by the founders in 2016 to take control of their 1,000 litre brewery and turn out the beers they wanted to drink.
“So it is natural for us to have a Fremantle influence. I guess we’re innately Fremantle.”
You don't have to look far within the growing stable of Innate beers to find evidence of this: there's Freo Draft Pilsner, for example, and the Great Scott American Pale Ale. This collected a silver medal at the Perth Royal Beer Show in 2016 and pays homage to one of the port’s favourite (adopted) sons: AC/DC’s late but great Bon Scott.
Beyond that, Joel says being Freo means other things too: "We’re irreverent, unpretentious, there’s no wank and while we’re passionate about beer we don’t want to take ourselves too seriously.”
As for the eight who started the company, they were keen homebrewers who wanted to step up to commercial production. Since launching in 2015, their beers have appeared with increasing regularity on taps around Perth, with awards success encouraging upgrades and expansion of the brewhouse over time. The co-owners often help in the brewery too, which, despite being based in Spearwood, can still claim to be “Fremantle-inspired” since the suburb is a heartland of the greater port region.
The brewery is set up purely for production; indeed, there's no outward signage to suggest anything exciting is happening inside the industrial unit where former Matso's, Gage Roads, Colonial and Indian Ocean man Joel goes about his business. Well, no outward signage unless you count the Crab Shack banner, a leftover from a previous tenant that inspired Innate's Belgian Black India Pale Ale of the same name.
Having cut their teeth in the world of collaboration in creating a mandarin saison called Confucius Sais with the Belgian Beer Café in 2016, the plan is to explore this area further over time.
“We want to get others involved in our beers but we also want to do some unusual stuff," says Joel. "Throw it out there a bit in terms of style, and see what works.”
Winter 2017 saw Innate go through a rebirth. Many of the existing beers were phased out and new ones brought in – and with them came a bolder new look and dedication to focusing on seasonal and single batch brews.