The first thing to understand about the Beerfarm is that it’s not just a brewery. Yes, there’s half a million litres of beer flowing out of its home in Metricup, in the Margaret River region, each year; however, in many ways the Beerfarm upends the late twenty-teen beer business model by focusing just as much on the experience.
“You can have beer and you can have a good time but you need something to connect them,” says co-owner George Scott. “Our view was to create a venue that becomes an institution and a national beer brand that goes alongside it and put Metricup on the map.
“Coming from different corners of the world, seeing all these amazing venues with great beers and we wanted to put our own spin on it for the Margaret River region.
“The Beerfarm is a place to capture experience. Whether that is great food, beer or a great event, The Beerfarm is essentially at the heart of what we do, and it’s were the brewery’s attached. The brewery is the brains but the venue is the heart.”
It’s a heart that beats within a working farm located halfway between Dunsborough and Margaret River in an old dairy farm and hayshed that was last used in the late 1940s. In this idyllic location, four self-described misfits pulled together around a shared vision to create a comfortably upcycled venue that’s quickly become a destination in the South West beer scene.
The sensibility manifests in glowing pink, shiraz-fermented Berliner weisse, grain fed beef, nationally recognised street art, footies to kick on the rolling lawn , all of which ultimately creates something effortlessly welcoming and cohesive – in anyone else’s hands this might seem cute or, at best, a forced attempt at authenticity. Perhaps most telling is the “No Dicks” policy.
A belief in seasonality and sustainability are referenced in the brewery’s “Established for the future” motto. Although the intention to minimise impact is noble, the sentiment isn’t at the exclusion of reality because, as their can labels, note: “Nobody’s perfect but we can all try a little harder.”
This extends to education as well as inclusivity while a policy of giving back to the land has fostered ongoing collaborations with Hidden Treasures and Cabin Fever as well as well as native food explorations with Fervor, including the inventive Native beer series. However, this local focus is only one aspect of the Beerfarm project: collaborations with Smith Street Taps in Singapore and Frankie’s Pizza in Sydney hint at broader aspirations.
Head brewer Josh Thomas, also known as the Beer Farmer, has created a range of beers that suits an afternoon session at the brewery, even if much of the production ends up in fridges and on bars far from home. ABVs are respectable and, although there is a New World lean to most of the beers, their design has far more in common with jug sharing beers in country pubs of old. It’s another example of the Beerfarm’s focus on experience: “Hang around for another and have a good time.”
While you’re at it, grab a bite to eat too. The kitchen echoes the local and sustainable ethos, using spent grain and grass fed Angus beef from the farm and with the rest of the ingredients sourced as locally as possible. Such items are highlighted on the menu, whether it’s those produced within the grounds or others that have been positively impacted by the Beerfarm.
Taken together, the Beerfarm creates a relaxed backyard party at its home 300km south of Perth. Sure, things might get a little loose but it’s a party with its head in the right place and beer at its heart.