Just when you're wondering when the next new arrival will appear on the WA brewing scene, up pops another suburban brewery in Perth.
Brew Garage's operation has landed fully-formed 15 minutes from the CBD in a light industrial pocket of East Victoria Park. At the helm is Daren Liebenau, a tax accountant by trade, who has built upon years of homebrewing experience while opening a petite brewpub and urban winery experience in a former yoghurt factory.
Throw in housemade vinos under the stewardship of partner Ricardo Zumaran, who's also behind the highly-rated bespoke pizzas, and there’s plenty of charm awaiting those who venture beyond the Brew Garage roller doors.
We paid a visit to find out more for our long-running Who Brews...? series.
Who are you?
I'm just as intrigued now, if not more, with the craft of beer brewing as I was at the age of 17 when the only way to get a frothy was to make your own. Back then, I went down to the local brew shop, bought my plastic fermenter, and away we went!
Many years of brewing, good times, hangovers, and later a graduate diploma of brewing, the beers have never tasted so good.
Where do you brew?
Quite possibly the world’s smallest brewery delivering what we like to think some of the world’s best beer. Only the best will do when it comes to our equipment and infrastructure.
Our little brewery packs a punch on a small footprint where we also squeeze in our urban winery.
Why do you brew?
Passion, passion, passion. Cracking that perfect drop, perfecting the recipes and recording everything, it’s not science unless you write it down.
Some things like brewing require hands-on experience to get the touch right. I guess that’s why we call it craft brewing: it’s a craft and the whole process inspires me very much.
Brew days are my favourite! Even after a late-night kegging, I can still bounce out of bed for an early morning brew day. I feel like I’m doing god’s work when I brew.
Was there a beer or a moment that set you on the path to becoming a brewer?
I think there have been many beers; all the classic styles inspire me.
Somewhere along the line, I grew a taste for German style hefeweizen. I remember times when I felt like a particular style of beer, let’s say a wheat beer, and that’s what I wanted to drink but the bottleshop shelf just didn’t have it. This started to happen more regularly, and I think that triggered me to realise I’ll just need to brew what I want.
What’s the inspiration behind the brewery name?
When you decide it’s time to start a brewery you know you need a name. It’s not long before you realise after doing various business name and trade mark searches that all your ideas have already been taken!
Brew Garage finally sprung to mind and we squared the trade mark away pronto. We love our name and brand, and it fits so well with our location; when you come down to the Brew Garage you will soon appreciate this fit.
What beer in your lineup best represents you and why?
I love all our beers! Otherwise they wouldn’t be on tap.
I’m a traditionalist when it comes to the style of beers we make. Some days it’s just the one variety I’ll sit on and other days I treat it like a degustation menu, hitting what feels right. But if I had to answer the question, I have a deep connection with the Hefeweizen.
If anyone drops in on brew day, what are they most likely to hear blasting from the speakers?
JJJ usually first thing; I appreciate Aussie artists and new stuff. As the day rolls on, the old favourites come out: Black Sabbath, Hendrix, John Butler and the likes.
What beers are in your fridge right now?
You guessed it, our Hefeweizen is currently pouring on the home tap. In the name of science, I’ll sometimes drop 15ml of top quality banana rum into a schooy of Hefeweizen. It’s a bit of a Christmas tradition at our place.
What would be your desert island beer of choice?
Anything cold! But if it was a one batch supply to last years, I’d see how a classic lager would lager in my desert island cave.
Which local beers have blown your mind in recent weeks?
I think it’s easy to miss great beers all the time. Breweries seem to release so many varieties these days, sometimes great products get lost in the crowd. You know a good beer when you have one.
Is there a particular style, ingredient, or trend in beer you'd like to explore further?
We have a few ideas up our sleeve. Working so closely with winemaker Ricardo on our premises, most days the ideas flow freely. There are many synergies between brewing and winemaking, and having these two crafts right on top of each other at the Brew Garage makes for a happy place to experiment.
Who knows what we will come up with, but our roots remain very much in the classic styles of beer, and doing them very well.
Where can people find your beers?
For now, all our beers are only pouring at the Brew Garage. We will be canning soon for some takeaway options and have Brew Garage on tap at some exclusive local venues soon enough.
Where do you hope your brewery will be ten years from now?
Our two boys will be teenagers by then and likely very involved with tasting the produce. I’d like to think Brew Garage will continue on to the next generation and beyond.
You can visit Brew Garage at Unit 8/20 Milford Street, East Victoria Park, and find them alongside hundreds of other breweries and good beer venues in the free Crafty Pint app, designed to help you find your nearest good beer wherever you are in Australia.