The journey from a FIFO homebrewer to opening Blasta Brewing has been one of incredible speed and grace, not unlike the brewery’s unicorn logo – but more on that later.
It appears that owner/brewer Steven Russell doesn’t mind a challenge and, following some initial brewing success - best packaged IPA at the Perth Beer Awards 2017 for MyWay IPA is one of many his accolades to date - the thought of scaling up his beer aspirations in 2016 took flight in a light industrial section of Burswood, WA.
Steven had lived in the suburb since arriving from Scotland in 2007. It’s this heritage that informed the brewery’s name – it’s Gaelic for delicious – and the unicorn logo, inspired by Scotland’s national animal. It’s geometric rendering echoes his engineering career, not that many under the age of eight are going to be too concerned with that.
Officially opening in early 2018, Blasta’s vision was for a brewery that’s a community hub, serving coffee and breakfast early then lunch before moving on to the harder stuff. However, its proximity to the Perth Stadium has certainly delivered fans beyond the local neighbourhood – a one-minute train ride will do that for a brewery.
At the same time, it’s the local spirit that’s seen Blasta give back to its community through charity work with local schools, the Victoria Park Council charity, the Cancer Council and Youth Focus, a mental health support for young people that shares Goodwood Parade with the brewery.
Inside the expansive brewery, a rotating lineup of beers flow from the 20 hectolitre system, initially including Blastaweizen, the Tangerine Dreams citrus Hefeweizen, the Mosaic hop driven Grimster Rocks APA, Chainbreaker IPA and MyWay Grapefruit IPA, but since home to all manner of heavily-hopped IPAs and fruit beers. These are delivered in globally sourced, Blasta Certified Pint glasses: a 650ml serve, as well as pressurised growlers to make sharing with the table a more enjoyable experience. Joining them is always a guest beer, usually showcasing another WA brewery.
Over the years, they've proven that early trophy for MyWay was no fluke, with the Blasta team making their way onstage at the Perth Royal Beer Awards year after year, claiming Champion Brewery titles and, in 2020 and 2021, back-to-back Champion Beers too.
Blasta’s supporters also get to take a hand in new product development. Each Tuesday, ten random punters are selected from Facebook and Instagram to try out test batches of new beers in a special tasting room. As these beers evolve, the punters are invited back to contribute more feedback before the test batch is scaled up into production. The staff know their stuff too, going through Cicerone trained server training and managers participating in the Certified Cicerone program.
While the café keeps things intimate, once inside, the cavernous 350 capacity space opens to long rows of shared tables below circular chandeliers. These are surrounded by booths, the bar area and the brewery itself.
Outside, a 230 square metre alfresco area provides ample additional room to drink, or spill one over yourself [Thanks for reminding me – Editor], and a kids' sandpit that’s frequently full, while live music every Sunday and Friday night over Summer, keep the vibes rolling.
Food wise, the Blasta café and kitchen operate from 7am, with service building towards the full lunchtime menu. Small share items include Haggis Spring Rolls (of course!), pizzas and larger classics to sate the masses on game days, while the grill offers much for the carnivorous.
Interestingly, the brewery’s home of Burswood was once known as Burrswood. The omission of the second "r" was apparently a signage mistake by a couple of 1890s painters at a local train station that stuck. Playing off this, Blasta released its “Where the Helles is Burrswood?” Helles Lager and features the story as part of the wall artwork inside the venue. This connection to place is a telling mark of owner Steve Russell’s years spent living in, and affection for, the area.