Wilson Brewing Co

There's a fair few Australian breweries that have been around longer than Wilson Brewing that also take the name of their owner. Yet we're not sure we've come across one that is even close to being an extension of its owner quite like this Albany operation.

It was launched by Matty and Jessica Wilson in 2016 and it takes little time once you step through the courtyard at the front of the venue and into the glorified shed to realise this is a place built in his image. That's not to say he's the only employee – far from it, of which more later – but he gives his business more than a name, a reason to exist and its beer recipes; the brewery and all who work within it feel like an extension of his personality.

So it's just as well Matty possesses the sort of personality it's easy to fall for: an exuberant, grinning, seat-of-the-pants, red-headed, heartily bearded whirlwind of all-encompassing enthusiasm eager for you to love his beers, his venue, his staff (all of whom come bearing his grinning enthusiasm and, in many cases, similarly hearty beards), his hometown, his vision... well, you get the message.

For the first six months, the former FIFO boilermaker who sold the family home to follow his beer dream, brewed on what was effectively a scaled up homebrew kit he'd built himself – the biggest RIMS system going, he reckons – and looked to service a few local pubs. Now the beers are brewed on a far larger Spark brewhouse, one he admits he "retarded to make it more manual" and thus to his tastes.

"You get to see, touch and feel the beer at every point," he says.

You can see it too if you visit the brewery venue that inhabits a former plant nursery a short distance outside Albany; peer beyond the taps on the bar and you'll spy the small army beavering away in the brewshed to the rear. When The Crafty Pint visited, Matty was already employing ten staff despite the relative youth of the business and gives the impression that if he was able to give a job to everyone in Albany he would. Little surprise then that the man who handles Wilson's branding reckons he'll be mayor before too long.

Yet, while watering the local region is the key focus – hence a core range that plays things rather safer than many young breweries these days – Wilson has been receiving calls from further afield across WA, aided by successes such as winning People's Choice at the inaugural Perth Royal Beer Carnival in 2018.

And, while the core range keeps the reins tight, there's been plenty of experimentation elsewhere, sometimes involving barrels and frequently involving local produce; if you grow something in the Great Southern, chances are they'll be keen to brew with it. They've worked with a local indigenous leader on a beer celebrating native flora and have snapped up the fresh hop crop from Kracanup for the coming years too. And, in a bid to keep the beers on an upward trajectory, a brewer with commercial experience was added to the team to bring in new knowledge and allow Matty more time to focus on future planning.

And what does that look like? At time of writing, work was starting to significantly expand the venue while the target is to push the 15 hectolitre brewery to produce 15,000 litres of beer every week. There's half an eye on the export market and all manner of locally grown ingredients set to feature in beers too.

It's already been quite the journey for a brewery located in one of the most remote locations of any in Australia and, wherever it leads, you can be pretty sure you'll find a welcoming smile at its end.

Name
Wilson Brewing Co
Address

47768 South Coast Highway
Albany
WA 6330

Phone
(08) 9842 3090
Website
Hours

Seven days a week: 11am to 7pm

Current Crafty Cabal offers

10% OFF ALL TAP BEER!

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Wilson Brewing Co Regulars

Wilson Brewing Dirty Oar Harvest Brown Ale

As part of its celebration of the Great Southern region of WA, the Wilson team has struck up a partnership with small (but growing) local hop grower Kracanup. It means they are able to get their hands on hop cones from some rare varieties, one of which, Flinders, goes into the sixth member of the brewery's core range. They lend the beer a juicy, fruity character, one that sits alongside caramel and nutty malts and helped Dirty Oar move quickly from a seasonal beer to the biggest offering in the year… Read more
Style
Hoppy Brown Ale
ABV
6.2%
Bitterness
45 IBU

Wilson Brewing Lost Sailor Dark Ale

A highlight from The Crafty Pint's first visit to Wilson was this dark ale. And, given Matty Wilson's fondness for malt driven recipes, perhaps that should come as little surprise. A dark brown pour, it serves up plenty of chocolate and dark sugar characters with a touch of treacle in there too. For all that, it's pretty light on the palate, making for an easy-going sweet treat.… Read more
Style
Dark Ale
ABV
5.3%
Bitterness
30 IBU

Wilson Brewing Rough Seas Pale

The majority of the Wilson core range might lean towards putting maltiness to the fore but Rough Seas is where they serve up something for visitors seeking a hop driven experience. It's a pale ale with Aussie hops Topaz, Galaxy and Cascade taking centre stage in the shape of some lovely citrus fruit and floral aromas and flavours. There's still plenty of caramel malt in there contributing to its hazy, deep copper hue, but the beer still possesses the most noticeably dry finish of all the core range… Read more
Style
Australian Pale Ale
ABV
5.8%
Bitterness
40 IBU

Wilson Brewing Stiff Mast Bitter

Another offering from Wilson that favours malt character over hops, albeit one that steps things up in taking inspiration from English style bitters and featuring Crystal malts that lend it its darker hue as well as toffee, caramel and sweet nutty flavours. There's a fruitiness at play from the English ale yeast in a beer that's reminiscent of a sweeter bitter from the UK and would likely fare well alongside a Ploughman's Platter.… Read more
Style
English Bitter
ABV
5.2%
Bitterness
35 IBU

Wilson Brewing Figure Head Blonde

The next step along the Wilson core range from Light House for anyone working their way through the taps at the bar (or the cans in their mixed six) is the Figure Head. It's similarly light in colour but bigger in terms of booze content to the brewery's session ale, yet perceptibly lighter on the palate. There's hints of light citrus and apple on the nose, with the Aussie Ella hops delivering a gentle bitterness too. Malt wise, expect some light, cracker like flavours in another beer sat firmly in… Read more
Style
Blonde Ale
ABV
4.9%
Bitterness
30 IBU

Wilson Brewing Light House Session Ale

Light House is Wilson's lower alcohol offering, presumably conceived with out of town visitors as well as those who need to make the drive back to Albany after dropping in. It's also a good introduction for what lies ahead in the Wilson range: malt led, soft on the palate and leaning towards the sweeter side of things. Ella hops were used to add the gentlest of bitterness and there's a late dry hop with Cascade but it's more about the bready, biscuity malts and a soft, almost fluffy texture.… Read more
Style
Mid-Strength
ABV
3.6%
Bitterness
25 IBU

Wilson Brewing Co Specials

Wilson Brewing Scurvy Juice

Tapped November 14th, 2018
Serendipity strikes again for Matty Wilson. Whenever he mentions a new beer concept to his Albany hop grower, he’s encouraged to talk with the lady next door, Val. Not only does Val have a mini-orchard to drawn from but she also happens to have twenty 30-year old yuzu trees – not the kind of thing you’d normally expect to find in the Great Southern. Originally a wild hybrid citrus found in China, yuzu has become highly sought after in the brewing world for its complex sour mandarin–grapefruit-lime-like… Read more
Style
Citrus Sour
ABV
6.0%
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