Black Brewing Co

Little did a youthful Stewart Sampson know that his teenage distilling experiments – black potato vodka, anyone? – in a breezy western suburbs shed in Perth would later provide the name for the Black Brewing Co and the ethos of “making good booze and having fun” that runs through the multiple projects under the Black banner.

More recently, it’s also a name shared with the one of world’s largest freshwater crayfish, the critically endangered Black Hairy Marron, found only in Margaret River and the creature that adorns Black's refreshed labels, albeit straddled by a Dionysus-like character. (We're pretty sure god-transportation isn't the cause for the low numbers, however.)

Opening in late 2015, Black’s Margaret River location houses a brewery, winery and distillery on the northern third of Caves Road serpentine black top. Indeed, the vines, manicured gardens and Zen reflection pool on approach to the brewery might have you believing you’ve arrived to sample chardonnay not saison. Yet, despite its cavernous, modern digs, the brewery steers clear of the R&M Williams, "chinos and checked shirt" set, even if there is a subtle influence from the neighbours.

Black’s executive chef takes a road less travelled in beer venue cuisine and the brewery is better for the globally influenced but pan-Asian focused menu. With no burger or pizza in sight, the tight menu covers the ocean, garden and pasture with bespoke bar snacks and a kids' menu that should enable a long afternoon of share plate grazing, watching the sun lengthen the eucalypt shadows on the estate’s lake.

Scan the fonts and you'll see sessionability is the focus. Fresh Ale and Lager keep things straight ahead, while the Pale Ale and IPA bring a modernity that will sate craftier tastes. Then, as the days darken, the lactose infused Bao Bao Milk Stout brings a similar level of drinking pleasure that’s best enjoyed beside the brewery’s double-sided fireplace.

The original German built brewery has been extensively expanded to allow for increasing volume and single batch releases that have included a 9 percent ABV Gunslinger Double IPA and iterations of the well-loved Bao Bao Milk Stout, an approach that keeps things interesting for drinkers and brewers alike.

However, it’s a building interest in the saison style that offers the most creative potential for drinkers. Black’s core range Saison is the launchpad for seasonal variations that draw from the local area; think wine barrel aging, co-ferments and more - as well as influence from collaborators like a Cascara Saison made with bespoke bean purveyors, 5 Senses Coffee Roasters.

Collaborations also include Honest Ale, made with pro-surfers Taj Burrow, Jay Davies, Dino Adrian and Caley Brent-White. Available in cans and draft, the inspiration for Honest Ale was to brew a beer that offers refreshment while chasing waves between the two Capes – one to complement the conversation not be the conversation. Given the board riders spend most of their time in the ocean, the inclusion of a small amount of local sea water within the brew keeps the beer true – honest, if you like - to its collaborative intent.

Additionally, Black releases 50,000 bottles of wine each year as well as Still Black Gin, under the new Label Dune Distilling, which uses water from an onsite natural spring and has a range of other spirits taking shape in barrel; it seems that, years later, Stewart can still stand still.

As for those pushed for time during a busy South West weekender, they can take the full complement of Black's commitment to “making good booze and having fun” home with them via the venue’s cellar door.

Guy Southern

Name
Black Brewing Co
Address

3517 Caves Road
Wilyabrup
WA 6280

Phone
(08) 9755 6500
Website
Hours

Seven days: 11am to 5pm

Tours

Call the brewery

Booking Essential

Black Brewing Co Regulars

Black Brewing Lager

Black’s Lager is everything it claims to be on the label – "crisp, clean, dry" – however, there is subtle nuance and technique for the observant to unearth. Aromas of sweet malt, muted citrus and faint floral characters lead to similar flavours. The double decoction mash technique and Spalt hops are decidedly German, but the 15 percent rice in the grain bill is a nod to not only the crisp Japanese lager style but also the previous owner of the original Black Brewing kit. In a further… Read more
Style
Lager
ABV
4.8%
Awards

Indies 2018 – Gold

BlacK Brewing Saison #1

Not many breweries have a saison as a core range beer. Yet, while Black's decision to include one might seem a quiet revolt against norms, it's one that makes a lot of sense for Australian beer drinkers. Although conditioned over many generations to quaff pale lagers, many would argue the saison style better suits our cuisine, weather and lifestyle. It’s a concept the Black team is very connected to, with Saison #1 being a base for future explorations and expressions of all things saison. For now,… Read more
Style
Saison
ABV
4.8%

Black Brewing Bao Bao Milk Stout

Of Black’s debut range, one beer has become a fan favourite above all others yet it’s also a beer that’s experience some evolution. Originally released with a higher ABV, Bao Bao has settled in to a more sessionable space although the baby still likes to flex its muscles occasionally in bolder, barrel aged editions as well as an imperial version, Bad Boy Bao Bao. While the label is bold, the beer itself is calm, welcoming and deftly effective. The lineup of specialty malts is joined by East… Read more
Style
Milk Stout
ABV
4.4%

Black Brewing IPA

Signalling its intent from the go, Black’s papaya coloured IPA can art evokes warmer weather and tropical fruit punch before even a single drop has hit the glass. El Dorado hops, supported by Citra and Chinook, ably deliver on this promise with papaya, mango, passionfruit and a pithy orange undercurrent featuring in a relatively lean beer. Not quite a West Coast IPA and not a classic Pacific Northwest IPA, in true Black fashion this IPA charts its own path to create a beer that’s lighter in… Read more
Style
IPA
ABV
6.4%
Bitterness
53 IBU

Black Brewing Pale Ale

It's fair to say Black has designed its Pale Ale in the spirit of the classic American pale ale. There’s plenty going on in beer these days, but there’s a reason why this style helped launch an entire industry and Black’s debut celebrates all of it. A pure expression of Simcoe’s citrus is underpinned by a prickly pine needle bitterness that lingers through the dry finish. Rye malt provides subtle spice and, at 47 IBU, this Pale Ale certainly packs more punch than many contenders, albeit… Read more
Style
American Pale Ale
ABV
5.5%
Bitterness
47 IBU

Black Brewing Fresh Ale

Sitting somewhere between a summer ale and an Australian pale ale, Fresh Ale has the right to claim the title of Black Brewing's chief esky filler. Pouring with straw-tinged, crystalline clarity, it's a beer that couldn't be more aptly named. Refreshment is the name of the game here but with an unfussy agenda there’s still room for subtle detail. Mosaic, Calypso and Melba hops imbue light lemon and grassy notes leading to a subdued bitterness that finishes crisp; that said, it’s the furtive… Read more
Style
Summer Ale
ABV
4.6%

Black Brewing Co Specials

Black Brewing Bad Boy Bao Bao

Black Brewing staple Bao Bao returns more petulant than ever as Bad Boy Bao Bao, an imperial milk stout. As with the original, lactose creates a full mouthfeel that plays well with the milk chocolate characters; however, this Bad Boy deviates with additions of vanilla and cinnamon. The latter evokes an almost cola vibe as proceedings turn considerably dry mid-palate as cocoa becomes more evident and cinnamon more pronounced as it warms. The result is a very effective imperial pastry milk stout… Read more
Style
Imperial Milk Stout
ABV
8.4%
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