Over the last decade, WA's South West has become a melting pot of brewing activity and, while some breweries in the region are rapidly expanding and rebranding, others are just getting themselves established and champing at the bit for their piece of the beer market pie.
The Sophisticated Beast have just launched their first packaged products from their compact Vasse facility, which happens to be on the same street at the recently commissioned Cheeky Monkey facility, making one of the state's biggest breweries and the smallest neighbours. It's not just beer on the menu either: here they also produce oyster mushrooms and cold brew coffee for the local farmers markets.
The Crafty Pint caught up with owner and head brewer Ryan White to find out more about his small scale operation on the back of their two unique releases into the market.
The Sophisticated Beast
WHO ARE YOU?
Ryan White, minion number 1 at The Sophisticated Beast.
WHERE DO YOU BREW?
The Sophisticated Beast, a seriously small brewery in Vasse, Western Australia.
WHY DO YOU BREW?
To make something different that we, and our friends, enjoy drinking. At the same time, to introduce others to beer styles they may not have tried before. And, lastly, because we need spent grain to grow our pink oyster mushrooms.
WAS THERE A BEER OR A MOMENT THAT SET YOU ON THE PATH TO BECOMING A BREWER?
Working for ALH back in the early noughties sowed the seed. But it was working a vintage in Sonoma that set me on the path. The availability of farmhouse and sour ales solidified my love of those styles.
The awesome Russian River Brewing brewpub in Santa Rosa inspired the sort of brewery I wanted to make/work at.
WHAT’S THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE BREWERY NAME?
Not everything has be run of the mill. It can be complicated and different, yet still wonderful.
The beast took on a life of his own as soon as he came into being. Since then we’ve guided, more than controlled, him. Much like our beers, actually.
WHAT BEER IN YOUR LINEUP BEST REPRESENTS YOU AND WHY?
Margot, a blonde saison: she’s funky, spicy, and has length that just keeps coming. Also, Neil, our oaked cold brew coffee - dark, smooth, dry, and bold – would be a good fit (though he’s not technically a beer).
IF ANYONE DROPS IN ON BREW DAY, WHAT ARE THEY MOST LIKELY TO HEAR BLASTING FROM THE SPEAKERS?
Metal or hard rock, most likely, though it may be some 90s grunge.
WHAT BEERS ARE IN YOUR FRIDGE RIGHT NOW?
3 Ravens, Garden Brewery, Brewski and Wildflower. Mostly sours and milkshake IPAs.
WHICH LOCAL BEERS HAVE BLOWN YOUR MIND IN RECENT WEEKS?
The dry Irish stout at Wild Hop, along with their truffle jalapeño popcorn, was a great finish to a long day recently.
WHERE CAN PEOPLE FIND YOUR BEERS?
At our farmhouse in Vasse and a few awesome bottle-os in WA.
WHERE DO YOU HOPE YOUR BREWERY WILL BE TEN YEARS FROM NOW?
More barrels, more tanks, and a bigger brewhouse. But still making fun, different beers.
You can tuck into beer, coffee and oyster mushrooms at 2/30 Burler Drive, Vasse.