There are a total of five microbreweries in the Swan Valley and as much as we wanted to go to all of them, we simply didn’t have the stamina and only managed three. Regardless, the breweries we visited were fantastic and each had their own characteristics that made them special in their own right.
Feral Brewing Company
This family owned and operated microbrewery is currently the Champion Large Australian Brewery, as awarded by the 2012 Australian International Beer Awards. The venue has a great atmosphere with a massive beer garden shaded by gum trees and the staff are super friendly.
We took our tasting paddle outside and leisurely sipped Feral’s awesome range of beer before heading inside to sample a few more unique brews. We’d like to extend a big thanks to Trevor behind the bar for his hospitality, conversation and beer expertise.
- Golden Ace – 5.6% a Belgian golden ale that was sweet and fruity with bitter hops and gentle yeasty flavours.
- Feral White – 4.6% sweet, smooth and creamy with lots of banana and a clean finish.
- Runt – 4.7% a lager-esque beer; crisp and refreshing with yeasty flavours without being too hoppy.
- Smoked Porter – 4.7% an acquired taste! A dark brew that tasted like smoked ham, cigars and burning.
- Razorback – 10% a barley wine beer with a deep red colour and plenty of fruity, floral flavours with a hoppy finish.
- Watermelon Warhead – 2.9% a sour wheat beer infused with watermelons that give it a great refreshing fruitiness.
After all that tasting at Feral Brewery and a few wineries beforehand, we stopped for some lunch.
Imagine our surprise when we walked into this vibrant and friendly German-style brewery to find one of our Melbourne buddies in a chef uniform behind the counter! After a quick catch up, we ordered two tasting plates and headed into the huge beer garden to get amongst the festive atmosphere.
There was a three piece band called the Canarino Trio walking around playing traditional German music on a guitar, squeezebox and a kooky-looking hurdy gurdy. After they did the rounds, they got up on stage and did an awesome rendition of Smoke on the Water much to everyone’s delight.
- Hefeweiss – 5.2% smooth and sweet with lots of banana and bubblegum, it had a great bready finish.
- Pilsner – 5% a clean, crisp beer with hops and powerful malt with floral and fruity tones.
- Dunkel – 5% Nutty, chocolate tones and not too hoppy with sweet malt finish. Our favourite!
- Altbier – 3.7% a crisp golden coloured beer with a creamy head and lots of malt and hops.
This brewery has a fantastic atmosphere – the industrial décor and brewery operations behind the bar worked well with the red feature panels and casual dining set up. With a great menu, kids’ corner with video games and the perfect climbing tree, it’s a place that you could hang out all day.
- Freo Doctor Lager – crisp and yeasty with a little bit of fruit flavours and minimal hops. Perfectly refreshing and very easy to drink.
- Pale Ale – rich, full bodied and hoppy with malty sweetness.
- Wheat – a smooth beer with no hoppy bitterness and lots of banana.
- Cider – a smooth, well balanced drink with no acidicty or biting tartness.
We also ordered a bowl of chips and it proved to be the perfect filler – hot, crunchy chips served with some flavoursome garlic aioli.
Wild Swan Distillery
This relatively new distillery in the Swan Valley started in 2002 and produces high quality whiskey, gin and vodka. The gin was the first thing we sampled. It was full of beautiful citrus tones and was surprisingly smooth.
They also had four varieties of vodka – pure, lemon, chilli and vanilla. None of them have any distinctive smell so it was all in the tasting. The vanilla vodka had a sweet bloom of creamy vanilla while the chilli vodka had both the flavour and the burn.