Fremantle street art

City Profile : Fremantle

We hit Fremantle before checking out the Perth CBD for a few reasons.  A – we were staying only 6km away, B – we weren’t ready to brave the innards of the city just yet, and C – we heard there were great places for coffee!

 

 

Sure, Fremantle is home to a plethora of cafés and the Cappuccino Strip, but it also has microbreweries, pubs and restaurants, heaps of shopping and Western Australia’s largest collection of heritage listed buildings.  There is even a bus dressed up like a tram offering ‘tram’ tours (LOL), which is the only reminder of when Fremantle had trams between 1905 and the 1952.

 

Affectionately called ‘Freo’, it was named after Charles Fremantle, a British naval officer who took formal possession of the mouth of the Swan River in the name of His Majesty King George in 1829.  Over 180 years later, the area is now a city with a vibrant, youthful culture with a love of beer, live music and festivals.

 

Araluen Chilli Festival

As soon as Juz heard about the Chilli Festival coming to Fremantle, she was keen on finding her own space coyote.  There was live music and pie making competitions, spicy jams, sauces, preserves, oils, beer and tonnes of food stalls serving up jumbos, paellas, seafood jambalayas and chilli con carne.  You could even get chilli ice cream!  Juz went with a bowl of creole chicken and chilli beef stew before wandering around the festival with swollen lips and a fire burning deep down inside.

 

 

Entry to the festival was $15 for adults and you got a few vouchers on entry, like a free tasting paddle at the Monk Brewery – SCORE!

 

 

PLACES OF INTEREST

Fremantle Markets

Established in 1897, the Fremantle Market Hall is a busy and colourful place to stroll around on a Saturday morning.  There are heaps of stalls displaying all sorts of fantastic stuff like fresh, local produce, nuts, cheese, knick knacks, clothes, free trade stuff, coffee, lollies and souvenirs.  Street performers and buskers are usually out and about on the weekend, and this is where the great John Butler started out before forming his trio in 1998.

 

The E-Sheds down near the harbour had a completely different atmosphere; sterile, quiet, almost forgotten.  We checked out the CY O’Connor statue and purchased a new picnic bag and cutlery case for $4 but that’s about it.

 

 

Round House

This is the oldest permanent building in Western Australia.  It was opened in 1831 and acted as the first prison for colonial and aboriginal prisoners until 1886 when the Convict Establishment (Fremantle Prison) started accept inhabitants other than convicts.  The Round House was then used as a police lock up until about 1900.  Since then, it has been the home for the chief constable and his family, as well as a port storeroom.

 

Every day at 1pm, they shoot a canon, which is also known as the Time Ball, and mariners, locals and tourists can set their watch to the daily blast.

 

Shipwreck Museum

This is a fantastic place to learn about all the shipwrecks that happened along the western coast of Australia and is an archaeological goldmine.  The galleries exhibit original timbers from the infamous Batavia, a 17th century Dutch ship which sank in 1629. Also on show are various kinds of booty that were left behind, including silver coins, pieces of furniture, crockery, glassware and even intact food jars and bottles with the original foodstuffs inside!

 

The Shipwreck Galleries are open daily from 9:30am and entry is by gold coin donation.  There is a great gift shop at the entrance where you can purchase replicas of coins found at the wreck sites.

 

 

Fremantle Prison

The Fremantle Prison was originally known as the Convict Establishment and was built by convicts in the 1850s.  It was used as a prison until 1991 and is now open to visitors.  The best way to experience the Fremantle Prison is with a tour, and there are four to choose from.

 

It truly is a must see, must do attraction when visiting Fremantle.  The site is drenched in history and fascinating stories. Check out our post on the Fremantle Prison.

 

Didgeridoo Breath

If you’re interested in learning the didgeridoo, check this place out.  The atmosphere is super-welcoming, they have a huge selection of instruments and they offer free didge lessons!  Check out our post on Didgeridoo Breath.

 

 

Galati & Sons

Fresh food doesn’t come cheap in Perth so we thought ourselves super lucky to find this place.  Cheap fruit and vegetables, cheese, Italian groceries and spices, as well as cannoli, tarts and pre-made meals.  WIN!

 

FOOD & DRINK

Little Creatures

Fremantle’s #1 tourist destination – check out our post on the Little Creatures Brewery!

 

Cappuccino Strip

If you’re looking for a place to hang out on a Saturday afternoon, the Cappuccino Strip would be the best place.  Pick a café or restaurant and sit outside while you sip on your coffee, enjoy a meal and read the paper.  If you have a hot car, this is the place to cut laps and show off your sick stereo.

 

We sat down at Gino’s and had a coffee while we watched masses of people walk past – youngsters with bare midriffs, couples walking their dog, sight seers, tourists, quirky locals – it is truly a mixed bag in Freo.

 

 

 

Grumpy Sailor

This was the first place we went to for coffee while in the Perth area.  The recommendation demanded that we have coffee and a bagel, so we had to comply.  We entered the relaxed bookshop with the embedded café, approached the counter and advised the bearded barista that we were sent for coffee and bagel.  He recommended the cream cheese and Nutella bagel, with the promise that it will “change our day”.

 

The coffee and bagel were enjoyed outside on the terrace right amongst the chilled out atmosphere.  The coffee was delicious – smooth and creamy without any hint of bitterness.  We can’t say that the bagel changed our day, but it was definitely divine – chewy and moist with a great combination of cream cheese tartness and sweet Nutella. YUM!

 

Blink Espresso Bar

Quite possibly the smallest shop in Fremantle, this was another strong recommendation that we had the opportunity to fulfil.  Forget about going into the place – there isn’t enough room!  All there is between the colourful walls is one energetic man and his tools to make you a fabulous cup of coffee.

 

Monk Brewery

Located towards the end of the Cappuccino Strip, The Monk Brewery is a popular stop to hang out with mates while drinking pints of craft beer.  There was a bit of a line to go in and we found that they use the scents of an outdoor kitchen cooking seafood paella to lure hungry patrons in.

 

 

They have a tasting paddle with eight beers, including a seasonal one, and all their beers are paired with menu items.  We were lucky enough to score a voucher from Juz’s entry to the Chilli Festival and got a free tasting paddle.

 

  • Mild – 3.5% a bright golden lager with mild hops and a crisp clean taste.
  • Kolsch – 4.9% fruity, sweet entry with a slightly hoppy taste and subtle bubbles.
  • Wheat – 6.0% a cloudy beer that’s fruity and yeasty without too many bubbles.
  • Pale – 6.0% a deep golden colour with yeast and smooth, lingering bitterness that comes from 100% Australian hops.
  • Chief – 6.3% voted the best ale at the 2012 Perth Royal Beer Show, this tropical, full flavoured beer was smoky and had plenty of hoppy bitterness.
  • Rauch – 5.3% a deep orange colour with strong smoky characteristics and fruity flavours with toffee.
  • Porter – 4.7% a rich, dark ale full of roasted coffee, chocolate and caramel, with mild bitterness and carbonation.

 

Sail & Anchor Hotel

Opposite the Monk Brewery is a great little microbrewery pub brimming with beer love.  They have their own selection of beers, like Monkey’s Fist Pale Ale, Cat’s Shank Kolsch and Lark’s Foot Golden Ale, but they also make Brass Monkey Stout and have a variety of other local beers on tap.  The walls are covered in beer propaganda and you could spend hours in there looking at them all and having a giggle.

 

 

We went in for their $15 lunch specials and sat down to a steak sandwich and seafood basket. While we were disappointed that the parma wasn’t included in the lunch special that day, we were thoroughly impressed with the tenderness of Dave’s steak and the juicy freshness of Juz’s calamari rings.  Their chips were also great – fluffy and crisp with no icky bits.  The Sail and Anchor also do weekly food specials like Parmagedon Mondays, Hump Day Pizzas and Nice Rump Thursdays.

 

Moondyne Joe’s Bar & Café

Named after the notorious jail-breaking bushranger, this great pub is tucked away at the end of Wray Street and has a traditional, relaxing atmosphere with some old school charm. The Governor’s Bar is the perfect place to chill out with a pint and a meal, or have a lively evening while keeping up with the footy in the sports bar.

 

 

If you’re budget conscious, check out their $12 Steak Night on Tuesdays – a big, juicy scotch fillet steak cooked how you want with your choice of sauce and a side of chips and salad.  We say YES to hot beef injections!

 

Clancy’s Fish Pub

If you want to steer away from the pub scene and find something a little more open and artistic, check out Clancy’s Fish Pub.  Great for after work drinks with mates on the veranda or a day with the kids playing on the lawn out the back, there is something for everyone at Clancy’s.  They have a great selection of beers on tap, including White Rabbit White Ale, and the menu features all the pub classics and then some.

 

 

Information & Accommodation

Fremantle Visitor Centre8 William Street, 08 9431 7878

Woodman Point Holiday Park – 132 Cockburn Road, Munster, 08 9434 1433

 

Fremantle CAT Buses

There are two free bus services that circulate around Fremantle – the Blue and Red CAT buses.  They run every 10-15 minutes and go past major attractions like the train station, Arts Centre, E-Shed Markets, the Cappuccino Strip and the Shipwreck Galleries.

 
 

 
 

Juz and Dave are super happy to be next to Elsie

Experience : Little Creatures Brewery, Fremantle

Little Creatures was established in 2000 by the same guys who ran Matilda Bay Brewery.  The name was inspired by the album of the same name by Talking Heads, and refers to the yeast that turns the sugars in the wort into alcohol.  Over the last 12 years, it has become Fremantle’s #1 tourist destination, is a major part of the Fremantle community and has spread its empire to the other side of the country, all the way to Fitzroy in Melbourne.

 

Little Creatures

 

The Brewery

We were really excited to go on the brewery tour, which runs daily between 1pm and 3pm.  Our tour guide Sean was great and talked about the beginnings of the brewery, the processes involved in making Little Creatures beer, and we even got a tasting session at the end.

 

The building was originally built as a boatshed before being turned into a crocodile farm. When Little Creatures took over, they wanted to transform the place into a brewery with a cellar door feel. We think they’ve achieved this quite nicely with beer being served to the public directly out of 4000L fermentation tanks, and the feeding platforms from the old crocodile farm are now being used as platforms by happy diners enjoying a beer and a meal.

 

Little Creatures have been brewing in Fremantle since 2000 – when they first started, they used small 30L kegs and delivered their beer to local pubs in their Kombi Ute ‘Elsie’.  In 2008, another brewery in Healesville was started and they shipped their original equipment to Victoria to establish the White Rabbit Brewery.  They are currently setting up a brewery in Geelong to supply the east coast of Australia while the Fremantle brewery focuses on the WA supply.

 

 

The beer making process is relatively standard.  After they crush and shell the malt, it is mixed with hot water in the mash tun to make a porridge that will break down into sweet wort.  This wort is separated from the porridge and the byproduct leftover is sent to local farms to feed their cows.

 

The filtered wort then undergoes sterilisation in the kettle before being hopped, filtered, and hopped again.  Fresh hop flowers are added to the wort via a hop vat, of which only three are in Australia, and Little Creatures own all three of them.

 

Finally, the hopped wort is left to ferment – ale about 12 days to ferment while the pilsner needs about 21 days – and then it is packaged and distributed.

 

The Beer

After the tour, we sampled the Little Creatures range, including an exclusive small batch.

 

  • Small Batch Shepherd’s Delight Red IPA – 6.4% a golden orange beer with a fruity, sweet smell and subtle smoke flavours, mandarin and some gentle hops, despite the 5 varieties of hops they use.
  • Pilsner – 4.6% Little Creatures’ only lager that uses 100% barley malt.  Zesty and fruity with sweetness and a crisp, refreshing yeasty finish.
  • Bright Ale – 4.5% a fruity and sweet golden ale with gentle hops and a clean finish.
  • Rogers – 3.8% an amber ale with gentle hops and sweet caramelised malt that gives the yeast less sugar to eat, thus a lower alcohol beer.
  • Pale Ale – 5.2% the first Little Creatures beer.  An American style pale ale with tropical fruits, a good body and sweet finish.
  • Pipsqueak Apple Cider – 5.2% The cider is made from granny smith and pink lady apples that have been fermented with sauvignon blanc yeast.  Apple juice is added to the end product to adjust the alcohol content and reduce the tartness of the cider, creating a fresh and crisp taste with the perfect balance of sweetness and a tart bite.
  • White Rabbit White Ale – 4.5% Juz’s favourite beer.  A cloudy Belgian style white beer with light malt, orange peel, coriander and juniper, it is an absolute pleasure to drink.

 

We were lucky enough to be at Little Creatures during their Thursday Firkin Night, which involves tasting a new beer.  We sampled a brew that was a combination of American and Belgion style beers – Small Batch Quiet American and Little Creatures Pale Ale.  It was quite sweet with lots of herbs and spices and very easy to drink.

 

 

The Food

The dining hall of the brewery is set right in the middle of the entire operation.  We thought it was really cool that when you approach the bar and ask for a beer, it is served directly from a 4000L fermentation tank that is suspended over the bar.

 

The walls are lined with booth seating and there were beer gardens at either end of the hall.  All food is made from fresh, local produce with the intention to ‘support the small guy’, and there are 55 people working in the kitchen to push out up to 6 tonnes of delicious food each week.

 

 

We started off with a big bowl of frites with garlic aioli.  Each addictive chip was well seasoned and cut in a rustic fashion.  They had a buttery crunch that made us assume that they used a waxy variety of potato to give it a creamy texture, but there was another flavour that we couldn’t quite put our finger on – it must be awesomeness.

 

Pizzas were next – Italian pork and fennal sausage with bocconcini and Harissa spiced lamb with feta and melanzane.  The Italian pork sausage pizza was covered in tomato sauce with a young acidic flavour that overpowered the flavour of the sausage.  The bocconcini was mild and added a great texture.  The harissa lamb pizza was full of exotic flavours and spice with a generous sprinkle of salty feta.  The base of both pizzas was crisp and well cooked without any sogginess.

 

 

After the pizzas, we ordered a plate of refried bean nachos to share.  It was piled high like an ugly mountain of red, green and yellow, but despite the amount of toppings, each corn chip was still super crisp.  The beans were hot and spicy and generated some great warmth in the chest while the sour cream and guacamole were cool enough to extinguish the flame.  The jalapeños were a burst of juicy zing and it wasn’t long before the plate was empty.

 

The Essentials

The Little Creatures Brewery is located on Mews Road in Fremantle and is open everyday for tours of the brewery, and for brunch, lunch and dinner.  Stop by for a quick bite and brew or make a night of it with friends and a few pints of your favourite ale.

 

 

https://littlecreatures.com.au/
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