Going 'Steady

April 13, 2015, by Crafty Pint

Going 'Steady

The last thing that Homestead Brewery's Ron Feruglio wants people to say is that his beers are OK. Either love them or hate them but nothing in between, please.

It has been just over six months since Homestead Brewery opened its doors in the Swan Valley and it has been a beast that continues to gather momentum. Boasting a beer garden that's more impressive and landscaped than the term can do justice, a fine dining restaurant, modern function and event spaces and an expansive bar, it really is an impressive beast. The fact the brewery is already on the verge of producing its twelfth beer is equally impressive.

The original lineup, consisting of No. 1 Premier Belgian Pale Ale, Thunderbird American Pale Ale, Kaiser's Choice Hefeweizen, Black Swan Black IPA and an apple cider, were quickly joined by the Brauhaus Lager and Mezzo and Cuvee Special, their first limited release brew.

Both the Brauhaus and Mezzo beers are now part of the Homestead core range. The former is a clean, spicy and approachable lager and the Mezzo is a midstrength that isn't strictly to any particular style, although is reminiscent of a Kolsch more than anything. Ron says that Little Creatures Rogers was one of his favourite mids but with Mezzo he wanted to brew something with greater drinkability. [Setting himself quite the challenge! – Ed.]

Mezzo uses four hop varieties: Mosaic, Ahtanum, Dr Rudi and Challenger and the result is a touch of tropical fruit, rounded bitterness and a lemony finish. Mezzo also presents with beautiful clarity, as, hopefully, will you after a couple of these thanks to its mere 3.5 percent ABV.

Ron Feruglio on his brewing platform at Homestead Brewery

As for the Cuvee Special, it's a beer that those who have met Ron (pictured right) and know his approach to brewing might call a "very Ron" beer: three different recipes were concocted and brewed separately, each beer then spent time with three different types of oak, then the three were blended to create a rich and deeply complex beer that would morph into something else with very few degrees in temperature change.

Over the Easter weekend Homestead began pouring his second limited release beer: Saint Isidore Saison, which Ron named after the patron saint of farmers and was brewed with a champagne yeast.

“This traditional farmhouse ale is flavoursome and complex with an aroma full of fruit and spice and a distinct yeast character that delivers a beer that's dry, refreshing and slightly funky," he says.

To follow the saison, Ron hopes to release not one but two Berliner Weisse beers (an old German style of sour beer that is gaining in popularity with some Australian brewers) sometime in April.

When asked how he thinks people will find the beer, he replies with a laugh: “Polarising!"

One will be a straight Berliner Weisse called Napoleon, a nod to Napoleon and his troops referring to the beer style as “the champagne of the north". The other will feature an addition of Australian raspberries and will be called Josephine, who was Napoleon's first wife for those who are a little rusty on their early 19th century French history.

Being the highly organised brewer that he is, Ron already has the limited release beers for winter planned so you can expect an ESB and an oatmeal stout to warm you during those cooler months.

Homestead Brewery beer decals

He says that, over the first six months, as well as expanding the core range beers, brewing an apple cider and a couple of seasonals, Ron has also been tweaking the No 1 Premier Belgian Pale Ale and Kaisers Choice Hefeweizen.

The Belgian Pale Ale was never intended to stick around but was instead supposed to be a trial batch to launch the new brewery but has become the second most popular beer at the brewery. After running the original brew through the system, the wort was going to be thrown away but Ron, not wanting it to go to waste, added some yeast and was pretty happy with the result – as, it turns out, are Homestead's guests.

The changes to the recipe are subtle but he knows they're there and he's happier with the beer. “It's subtle," he says. "Not a hop bomb."

The recipe for the Kaiser's Choice has also been through a similar refinement, rather than any sort of overhaul, in a process that Ron refers to as an “exercise in elegance."

Already former Temple Brewing man Ron's Homestead beers have managed to strike a perfect balance between approachable and drinkable with precision brewing and creativity. The fact these beers are showcased in such a stunning venue that feels like it's been in the Swan Valley for years makes the whole offering all that more appealing.

Just six months into operation and with thousands of happy customers sated, the next six months should be equally impressive too. There are plans to release Homestead beers into the wider Perth area and also into the Melbourne bar scene and, judging by Ron's highly apparent pleasure in brewing – and the pride he takes in his Homestead beers –it's unlikely he'll take his foot off the pedal anytime soon.

Pia is the beer lover behind girl plus beer and also tweeter of the CraftyPintWA tweets.

Look out for Homestead Brewery's listing in our Brewery Directory very soon.

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