The team behind the Northbridge Brewing Co (NBC) has opened sister venue Whitfords Brewing Co (WBC) less than a year after plans for the new brewery were announced. WBC is located in the new $80m Westfield Whitfords City Dining and Entertainment Hub and is the only brewery currently located in the 40 kilometres between Perth and Mindarie, home to Indian Ocean Brewing.
The 750 person capacity, two-storey venue sits under a cinema and above a bowling alley and features a 201 capacity SkyDeck with views to the Indian Ocean. Also housed within this unlikeliest of brewpubs are 75 inch screens streaming sport and arguably the highlight of the brewery: a 22 metre bar featuring timber from the decommissioned Perry Lakes stadium and Fremantle Foundry, some of which is believed to be 120 years old.
While beers are currently being produced at NBC, the new 12hL brewery will be fully commissioned in October and set to work producing Beerland’s Pale Ale, Wheat, Kolsch, Lager and IPA, the last of which won a gold medal at the most recent Perth Royal Beer Awards. With two breweries now coming under the Beerland banner, seasonal releases, like the current SchwartzBier, can be split between the venues, thus allowing for greater experimentation.
Head brewer Ken Arrowsmith says an ESB, English mild or brown ale may be on future brew logs to support the large English population surrounding WBC and that the company's popular and long established food challenges would continue.
“We’ll be participating in regular food events like Chilli Week and Man vs Food but will also be creating local specials to keep people coming back,” he says.
In addition to the Beerland beers, WBC pours a range of craft favourites that currently include Balter’s XPA, Nail Brewing's Red and Feral’s Hop Hog, with the tap selection supported by more diverse offerings in the fridges. Beerland beers can be purchased for takeaway through the onsite CANimal machine too.
Opening a brewpub in a shiny new suburban shopping mall is new territory here in Australia (although The Public Brewery has been operating the Cellar Door at Melbourne's Eastland since early 2016). But, judging from the opening day turnout, WBC looks like it may outshine its older sibling in the heart of Perth and, hopefully, inspire similar venues elsewhere.
About the author: Guy drinks and writes about beer, goes for a run most mornings and makes his own chilli hot sauce. Find out more on Goodtimes Craft Beer via Facebook and Instagram.
For me, beer writing is about sharing experience with others, most of which is as much about what happens around the glass as what’s in it. It’s why I started a blog in 2014 after years of drinking beer and through quite literally bumping into founder James Smith at Good Beer Week began writing for The Crafty Pint. Many amazing friendships have developed from the love of water, malt, hops, yeast, adjuncts and hype!
The beer(s) or moment(s) that turned you on to good beer
Early 90s experience with Dogbolter and bottles of Delirium Tremens at the Sail and Anchor proved that there was more to beer than the cheap stuff I was drinking. A few years later, Chimay Blue once again teased before Little Creatures Pale Ale and Feral Hop Hog set the course for beer with flavour and nuance.
Favourite beer styles
Balance and drinking context are key but a short list includes Brett saisons, super fresh West Coast IPAs, well constructed BA sours, BA imperial stouts and fresh India pale lagers.
You've got three beers to turn someone else on to good beer; what are they and why?
Depending on the beer and circumstance, bitterness and acidity are the hurdles to overcome.
Right now, Eagle Bay’s IPL is a great modern expression of technique and approachability. The hop presence arrives in soft mango and lime with enough bitterness but it’s the tight carbonation and refreshingly super dry finish that seals the deal.
Boston Brewing’s Afterglose: Raspberry gose brings a near-perfect fruit / salt / acidity balance to a vibrantly coloured beer. It’s a real talking point which can lead to conversation about the history of beer styles, acidity on the palate or just: "Do you want another one?"
Any fresh Czech-style pilsner. This has to be fresh in order to pick up the grassy noble hop characters and zippy bitterness on the slightly more biscuity malt body. While familiar to many, a really fresh expression is great starting point for a massive world of beer.
Tell us about a standout beer moment
A favourite beer memory involves spending an afternoon sitting under the dripping eaves of a café in the 5th Arrondissement watching Parisians run in and out of a bakery with fresh baguettes while I drank large goblets of Duvel as the winter rain soaked the tiny cobblestoned square. So much about beer is context!
Billabong Brewery's 23rd year in business is turning out to be a pretty good one. Its Wheat Beer collected more trophies, a new bar is up and running and the owners took on the law and they won.
We're back in Perth for our latest Crafty Crawl, this time checking out crafty delights – both old and new, big and small – in Mt Lawley and Northbridge. Guy Southern is the man guiding you on this leisurely downhill saunter.
Most of the silverware stayed at home at last night's Perth Royal Beer Show. Indeed, much of it ended up headed to one place: the joint brewery shared by Feral and Nail, with other winners including Billabong, Gage Roads and Elmar's.
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The Crafty Pint is an independent online magazine and resource for anyone interested in craft beer in Australia. We bring an honest, old-fashioned journalistic approach to beer's brave new world, telling stories because they're worth telling not because someone is paying us to write them.
Like many of the people who have changed the face of beer in Australia, we believe in authenticity, integrity, enjoyment and love. We hope to play a role in helping good beer, brewed by good people, find its way into the hands of more drinkers.
The Crafty Pint – Putting Class In Your Glass Since 2010