Crafty Crawls: WA's South West Part II

January 17, 2024, by Jono Outred

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Crafty Crawls: WA's South West Part II

In part one of our guide to the beer-soaked delights to be found in the South West of Western Australia, we traversed the upper fringe of the Margaret River region. For part two, we head south into the heart of one of the most populous areas for breweries anywhere in Australia.

It's a beautiful part of the world beyond beer, whether you're keen to explore wineries big or small, stretches of curved white sand with rays lapping the shore, enjoy gourmet produce overlooking bovine pastures and ancient forests, or catch some waves. But, if it's beer you're after, we've got you covered with this guide to the breweries, bars and other venues showcasing local beer.


Stop One: Beerfarm

 

Located 30 minutes south of Dunsborough (where we pulled up stumps on day one), Beerfarm’s relaxed swagger oozes from every corner of the creatively upcycled old dairy and hay sheds: it’s authentic, ego-free and downright cool.

The large, open-planned bar opens up to a grassed area with a food hut overlooking the farm dam; there, when the weather is warm enough, younger visitors will love hurling themselves down the 50 metre slippery slide.

Beer wise, the provenance of the farm and the South West region comes into play. Head brewer Josh Thomas is passionate about using local and seasonal ingredients in the many versions of Beerfarm's Berliner weisse, which first came to attention via the cult favourite Shirazzawiess. 

The standout from the core range is the award-winning India Pale Lager, which blends modern stone fruit characters into the classic refreshment of a well-made lager – and was named WA Good Food Guide Beer of the Year 2024, while the seasonal and one-off range continues to expand and excite, with many beers created in partnership with like-minded local enterprises too. Guy Southern

Beerfarm is at 177 Gale Road, Metricup

Crafty Cabal Member offer at Beerfarm: Save 10% On Beerfarm Takeaways Get A Beerfarm Bonus


Stop Two: Cowaramup Brewing Co

 

Cowaramup Brewing Co have been in the WA craft brewing game longer than most, with co-owner and head brewer Jeremy Good knocking out classic-leaning styles since day one.

The brewery is situated on an expansive farm-adjacent property, just outside the small town of Cowaramup, about 20 minutes north of Margaret River. The venue keeps things simple, pouring an array of core and seasonal beers, including Jeremy’s award-winning Pilsener, hefeweizen and chocolate porter, all created on the 800L brewery imported from Canada all the way back in 2006.

There’s the option to stay for a bite to eat, too, with the kitchen team pumping out dishes perfectly suited to the casual lawn seating, or when perched upon the brewery's wide timber deck, enjoying the idyllic pastoral views.

Head to North Treeton Road, Cowaramup


Stop Three: The Servo Taphouse

 

The majority of entries in this article feature breweries, but if any beer venue in the region is worthy of inclusion among them, it's The Servo Taphouse. 

Opened in late 2022 to much fanfare, it answered the call from many who felt Margaret River was screaming out for a quality craft beer-focused venue. Alhough there isn’t much distance between beer producers in the region, a venue that brought the offerings of many together under the one roof while pairing affordable pints of local beers with stellar imports would surely go down a treat.

And that's certainly been the case with The Servo Taphouse in Margaret River's neighbouring township of Cowaramup. Fifteen taps – including side-pour Lukr fittings – champion great beer, a blend of mostly limited releases and seasonals from nearby breweries plus a couple of special pours from greater WA, interstate and international. To sweeten the deal further, three hand-pumps are dedicated to pouring "icon" spec beers from the UK, such as Old Speckled Hen and Belhaven Best.

Live music and food vans regularly join the Servo party, ensuring an all-in-one experience for those on the hunt for good beer and good times.

Treat yourself at 60 Bussell Highway, Cowaramup


Stop Four: Cheeky Monkey Caves Road

 

The famed stretch of Caves Road, running parallel to the coast for more than 100km between the two capes connecting Busselton to Augusta, is home to an array of wineries, eateries, tourist attractions and, of course, a couple of breweries, including Cheeky Monkey’s original brewhouse and restaurant.

Since opening their doors in 2012, they've built a solid core range that’s regularly embellished with single batch releases, like their ever-evolving Silverback Imperial Stout and lauded Surf Break Series, which fed into the quality of their hazy core range beers. 

Their main production brewery is now in Vasse, which is where you'll find the Cheeky HQ referenced in part I of this Crawl, but the Caves Road venue continues to draw in the crowds eager to soak up beers paired with solid pub grub on the sprawling grounds.

The venue and kids playground fill most days, while the onsite winery and gift shop act as a one-stop hub for wine tastings, local produce and takeaway beers.

Cheeky Monkey is at 4259 Caves Road, Wilyabrup

Crafty Cabal Member offer at Cheeky Monkey: Two for One Cheeky Monkey Paddles


Stop Five: Black Brewing Co

 

While we’re out enjoying the sights and sounds of Caves Road, a stop at the 2023 Indies WA Brewery of the Year would have to be on the cards. Black Brewing Co is situated within a grand lakeside building, sharing real estate with Dune Distillery and Cloud to Ground wines. 

The venue's cellar door offers tastings of Black’s beers, spirits made onsite, and wines crafted from estate-grown fruit, but it’s the brewery that will likely have you drawn you in and, thankfully, that’s the focus for the team here. 

The brewery kit itself is compact – tucked away behind the venue's main bar – and today can be found producing consistent and award-winning beers. The core range features a hazy pale ale, lager, milk stout and an apple cider while one-offs and past seasonals have included a white sapote, quinoa and mulberry sour, an imperial stout and a "juicy" IPA.

Arguably, Black's biggest draw is its all-in-one nature, with wine, spirits, cider and beer all on offer ensuring no thirst goes unquenched. The restaurant, too, hits the spot, not least thanks to the all-encompassing views across the lake.

Quench all your thirsts at 3517 Caves Road, Wilyabrup


Stop Six: CBCo Margaret River

 

Enjoy the southbound twists of Caves Road before cutting east along Cowaramup Bay Road back to the Bussell Highway. From there, it’s a short drive further south to Osmington Road, the location of the original CBCo Brewing venue; their main production brewery is in Port Melbourne, where there's a second venue too. It's also one of the original Margaret River breweries, open since 2004, and one of the more impressive brewery homes you'll find anywhere in Australia.

Visitors are welcomed by a colourful array of cow sculptures and growler chandeliers that light a main bar that includes a fireplace for the cooler months. The large outside deck and grassed area is covered with plenty of tables and a large playground surrounded by ample turf where you can kick a footy with the kids between drinks – or dispatch the kids while sampling the brewery's tight core range or ever-changing lineup of limited releases. 

If you're peckish, the food's good, and, if you time the visit right, you might chance up live music and entertainment. Growlers and cans are available for takeaway. GS

Pull up to 56 Osmington Road, Margaret River


Stop Seven: Margaret River Beer Co

 

Less than ten minutes away, at the bottom end of the town of Margaret River town itself, is Margaret River Beer Co (formerly Brewhouse Margaret River and Margaret River Brewhouse). A mere 18 months after opening, winning Best WA Beer and Best Commercial Beer at the 2017 Perth Royal Beer Show awards for their Peter Coupan Barrel-Aged Stout helped raise the profile of what was an already thriving brewery, and their reputation within WA has only continued to rise.

The brewery is nestled on the edge of the Karri forest and within walking distance of town, based around a modern surf shack which hosts a bustling kitchen with a local focus. Outside, the deck leads to terraced lawn areas and an impressive kids playground, frequently filled with locals and those borrowing their relaxed lifestyle for a few days.

Ahead of summer 2023/24, they completed a significant brewery upgrade and expansion (along with another brand refresh) and have been working to get their cans out ever-wider across the state. That said, the best way to understand what they're all about is by pulling up a pew and a paddle or two at their gorgeous home.

You'll find them at 35 Bussell Highway, Margaret River

Crafty Cabal Member offer at Margaret River Beer Co: Half Price Tasting Paddle at Margaret River Brewhouse


And There's More...

 

As with day one of this extended Crafty Crawl, if you're staying in the area for a while there's plenty more to keep your taste buds working overtime.

  • Burger Baby – 117 Bussell Highway, Margaret River: As the name suggests, this is your spot for good burgers. Thankfully, good beers are also a fixture, and you’ll likely see some interesting local seasonals rotating on the taps.
  • The River Hotel – 40 Wallcliffe Road, Margaret River: The classic pub experience, with a somewhat upmarket food offering and Western Australian craft beers pouring. The neighbouring bottleshop also has a few fridges of craft; a solid one-stop shop when visiting Margaret River.
  • The Common – 1 Resort Place, Gnarabup: A welcoming beachside bistro bar featuring a pool table, wooden deck and a more casual riff on Margaret River’s locally-focused hospitality.
  • Margaret River Liquor Merchants – 110 Bussell Highway, Margaret River: While the wine offering here encapsulates everything good about Margaret River wine, beer isn’t an afterthought. Plenty of classics and a solid ranging of independent beer too.
  • Rhum Burgundy – 107 Bussell Highway, Margaret River: A big city quality cocktail bar in a small, regional town. Four taps of craft are dedicated to local brewers with the team favouring beers of interest over core offerings. A fun, bespoke setting for a beer.
  • Pies & Ale – 7981 Caves Road, Forest Grove: Heading south and, with not much else around, Pies & Ale delivers a unique experience, offering up pies made daily alongside craft beers. A perfect stop after exploring Caves Road and a welcome change of pace from the boutique wineries and bustling breweries.

You can check out other Crafty Crawls here. You'll also find all the venues above in the free Crafty Pint app, designed to help you find your nearest good beer wherever you are in Australia.

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