As far as brewery sites go, Bevy Brewing Co has a rather enviable one. Located on the banks of the Swan River, and just 100 metres from Optus Stadium – Australia’s third largest sporting arena – it’s got a lot going for it. Easy walking access from Perth’s CBD or by car, train – even boat – it’s a part of the WA capital enjoying increasing growth and energy, so there could hardly be a better place in which to fire up a new brewery.
Now, if it only had an appropriate venue to match its aspirations…
Enter the Camfield. Through a partnership with Lion, this new build, modern behemoth possesses the sort of scale that can be hard to comprehend, especially if your experience of brewery venues has been smaller, brewpub operations.
Named after Western Australia’s third brewery owner, Henry Camfield, who operated from a location very close to the current site, the venue is the one of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest pubs: a staggering 9,000 square metres. Capable of servicing 2,500 punters via its 175 taps and five bars, the Camfield is also one of the biggest sellers of beer by volume in Australia.
To put this in perspective, Bevy’s limited release Red Devil Red IPA – a beer released during the July 2019 visit of Manchester United – completely sold out in just two days: 22 fifty litre kegs, or just shy of 2,000 pints of one beer in 48 hours. More broadly, during its opening year The Camfield sold more than 775,000 beers, with Bevy’s First Lager and Prize Ale – since superseded by the Extra Pale Ale – the third and fourth most popular despite being far less familiar to drinkers than the bigger brand names lining most of the taps.
While it’s easy to get caught up in such stats when dealing with one of Lion’s growing collection of brewpub brands, a collection that also includes Byron Bay Brewery and Eumundi Brewery, there’s another side to the story too. The brewery name references the collective term for the black swans that course the river outside, as well as the West Australian term for a beer.
It’s also a theme with strong links to the state’s brewing history. The now defunct Swan Brewery operated from a high profile site further down the banks of the river from 1879 until 1966, when production moved, before ceasing in WA in 2013. The late Victorian red brick building was eventually redeveloped; however, it remains an iconic totem of beer made for West Australians, especially on the Swan, an endeavour the team at Bevy Brewing Co – led from the off by former Little Creatures man Andy Scade – is keen to reinstate.
The 12-hectolitre kit supports three core range beers and a rotating limited release tap, which, at time of writing, had included an aged Foreign Extra Stout and a modern, tropical XPA. While approachability and sessionability are the aim, each of the beers has subtle details that separate them from their more mainstream tap siblings, often through consideration of the historical context that the Bevy beers now continue.
Extensive research about local brewing and publican history has influenced recipe design through the use of Beechwood smoked malt and an amber-hued take on lager; admittedly, it’s a delicate balance that many thirsty fans may not even notice.
While remaining very much contemporary, Bevy’s considered approach grounds one of WA’s newest beer brands with a respect for the past, in an idyllic location, inside one of the largest pubs in the world. Now that surely deserves a bevy.