Once again we have endulged ourselves in a tour of breweries, this time down south for the first time since early 2009. We added 3 more to the list this time around – Bush Shack brewery, Eagle Bay brewery and Occys brewery.

The old favourites were as good as ever. Ducksteins beer was impressive, and the german food cooked the way germans would cook it. Bootleg is still my number 1 – it is exactly what a brewery should be – not too fancy, not tailored for Bogans. And whilst Colonials food was worse, their Kolsch was even better than before, 2nd best beer in the Valley atm!

Anyway, onto the 3 previously unvisited breweries (in order from worst to Best)

 

Occys Brewery (Vasse). Occys has received a pretty good response from a few online communities and tourism sites. On the other hand one of my friends warned of an impending disappointment. Unfortunately he was right. As our last stop on Saturday we parked in front of the tin shed that is Occys and it looked like a very true blue, old school Aussie outback brewpub, it had a very friendly lounge room feel to it to. – Thats about as far as the positive feedback goes. The most important part of any brewery is its beer, and this was a disaster. The Pale Ale was very bitter, and the rest of the beers did not sound too drinkable either. The best there was the Radler and the was drinkable at best – not good, just drinkable. A mate who was drunk enough to have no taste left manage to down the rest of the Pale Ale and we slowly finished the Radler then left very quickly back to base camp.

Bush Shack Brewery (Yallingup).  Bush Shack brewery was our first stop both days. Its very easy to see how they came about giving it its name. After turning off the main road the one we were on turned into a dirt road, we then had to turn onto an even dirtier and progressively more dirtier and more waterlogged (good for my 4×4, bad for most other people) road. All the with trees towering over in every direction, it was a very isolated place – makes you wonder how they make the place good business. Upon arriving it had this very quirky feel about it. Old school rustic metal figures stood high outside the brewhouse, a beer shrine was built into the side wall and the welcome sign was a right laugh “Warm beer, bad food, lousy service. Welcome”. You could tell this place was made for a casual drink with your mates. There was a foosball table outside, and a circle pool table inside much to our amusement. There was even a video games room across the front yard. Bush Shack proved to be the perfect place to start. Its quiet setting made it easy to have a good chat before heading out for a big day.

The Beer was quite nice to. What was more striking was the strange array they had on offer. Passionfruit, citrus, chocolate, chilli, peach were just a few of the 18 beer infusions on the overhead chalkboard. They did have generic brews as well (Ales, Pilsner, Wheat Darks etc.) which I stuck to. The Pale Ale was very smooth, maybe lacked a little flavour which actually worked out well seeing as I did not want to get hit with a full flavour beer at 10am in the morning. No complaints from anyone, and the staff were only too happy to let us sit at a table that had been set up and reserved for midday – a very friendly gesture very hard to come by anywhere these days (if its set up, you cant sit there no matter how far away the booking is!). Bush Shack I would recommend to anyone as a perfect way to start a brewery tour down south.

Eagle Bay Brewery (Eagle Bay). Eagle bay was by far the standout of the 3. As you idle down the driveway the brewery (very similar looking to Colonial) sits beneath you opening out onto the breathtaking view of a lush green valley between it and the sea. As you turn back all you see is trees, the road has disappeared and you truly feel surrounded by the most idyllic landscape in the world. Once inside we were quickly escorted to our reserved table and greeted by the waiters (most of which worked at Duckstein last time we were down). They knew beer was our priority and wasted no time getting our orders in front of us. Most of us chose between the Pilsner and Kolsch – a beer that comes with a very high reputation down south within our group. Eagle Bay not only met the bar, their Kolsch was even farther superior to that of Duckstein, even Colonials improved brew was belittled by its perfection. Very easy to drink, yet with plenty of flavour. Incredibly refreshing too! Eagle Bays Kolsch is definitely the new number 1 in my books. The Pilsner rates very highly too. Duckstein is no longer #1 for beer amongst our group.

After getting our beer to us we ordered our meals. Mostly Beef burgers, a few pizzas and steak. It was served to us in reasonable time considering there was 10 of us, and they clearly didn’t cut any corners in doing so! Of course I had to get the beef burger as before the tour I had tipped that this could beat Bootleg. Well it turns out I was wrong, but it was very, very good. The bread was very soft, yet held together well. Once again the beetroot added a nice touch and there was just the right amount of salad and mayo to complement the large beef patty. A would suggest to Eagle Bay that if they had have cooked the patty a few seconds less, and added tomato relish to the ingredients, this burger would definitely be in the top 3! Another big plus was the serving was absolutely huge, an inch thick layer of chips covered half the plate, with the burger taking up the other half.

I would put this in at #4 behind Ferals Hop Hog, Mash’ Black Angus and – of course – the unbeatable Bootlegs sirloin steak burger. Making it the only non-steak burger in the top 5.

So my opinion on the order of breweries down south after the trip…

1: Bootleg – perfect food, perfect setting, great beer.

2:Duckstein – perfect food, perfect setting, great beer.

3: Eagle Bay – great food, great setting, perfect beer.

4: Colonial – great food, good setting, perfect beer.

5: Bush Shack – Food?, great setting, good beer.

6: Cowaramup – Food?, good setting, good beer.

7: Occys – Food?, great setting, bad beer.

Down south I still have to go to: Tanglehead, Jarrah Jacks, Mash (bunbury & Rockingham), Old Coast Road Breweries.

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