Sunday, 6 November 2016

Lucky Bay Brewing

This week's post is another about beer. 'Why is Jeni writing another post about beer?' you may ask. Beer is for blokes. Well if you knew what I knew you would perhaps change your mind on that fact. More on that in a moment, but the simple answer is that I enjoy the taste and variety of beer. Do what you love is something us here at Trooprock Aussies do best and just because females usually like wine better than beer doesn't mean there can't be exceptions.

Currently we are basing ourselves at Esperance. We are hoping to stay for the summer. During the first couple of weeks here we had some shocking weather. We did venture out to some of the national parks and beautiful beaches of the area but we would like to visit again before we write a blog post about them. Today's post is about a local boutique brewery in Esperance. I wasn't actually searching for one, but someone had posted something once on the Esperance Community Facebook page about it, so I did some research. It is called Lucky Bay Brewing, is opened 2-5:30 Friday, Saturday and Sunday and is located on the west side of town near where we were house sitting at the time. One Sunday afternoon we were on our way back from town after having visited the local markets when we decided to stop in. We were early and couldn't find where it was despite having the address for it, but we learnt later that the sign only gets put out the front when they are open. It is owned and run by two locals Nigel and Robyn.

For a brewery that has only been up and running for 11 months, it certainly has some good vibes about it. Tastings for $10 per person which includes a tasting of the brewed beers that are available. Each beer tasted is not quite a full middie, but in total about a pint will be consumed (and extras if Nigel happens to be changing over a tap), $15 for tastings and a tour of the brewery. Nigel and Robyn are the owners and both are lovely people who like to have a chat in between pouring you a beer. Both are great at customer service, know their product and have some good information and background knowledge on it. They also stock 2L Growlers from Keg King that can be refilled by them, and most of the pubs that stock their beer.

Esperance is considered to be in the gold fields region, but that also means it is in a region that grows wheat, and barley (used to make malt). The brewery here is one of the few in Australia that is genuinely local, and the only one currently to use up to 75% raw barley. Their beers can be found in a number of pubs in Esperance, and even expanding to some pubs in Albany, and Kalgoorlie. They have a variety of 7 different beers, (currently, but with more on the way in the new year), ranging from 3.4% alcohol – 6% alcohol. The beers are even named after local beaches and landmarks. Sandy Hook is a Barley Pale Ale and is their most popular beer. It is also Cameron's favourite. Thistle Cove is a Scottish Ale and is one of my favourites as it has sweet hints of malt. I think being Australian and growing up drinking Milo accounts for my love of malt flavours. Skippy Rock is a Kolsch which is a German style Pale Ale. The Homestead is a Belgian farmhouse style ale. Just watch yourself on this one as it is 6% alcohol but very easy drinking. The Tanker is a dark ale that has a tempting coffee aroma. Cyclops is an Indian Pale Ale, (commonly shortened to I.P.A), usually very strong hops flavour but Lucky Bay Brewing have done well to make it more balanced. Burnt Sticks was brewed as an accident with incorrect quantities that was supposed to be made into the Black Jack Pirate Porter, which now won't be brewed until the New Year, but it is an accident that turned out well. It has a beautiful coffee colour in the foam head when poured, with a delicious, smokey (not burnt) flavour. This is my other favourite, but they are all delicious! You will notice that of the pubs that do stock Lucky Bay Brewing that it is all different. Market Research has been done at these pubs to see what kind of beer is consumed the most, and such beer has been supplied to match the demand.

Our, (mine particularly), interest for tasting a variety of beers and learning about general history of beer began in 2012 when Cameron started home brewing. We didn't have the blog set up back then but in June this year, (2016), Cameron wrote a post regarding home brewing. Since the beginning of 2013 we have been travelling on and off and it would be difficult for us to brew in the troopy as we already have very limited space. In 2014 we briefly visited Ireland where we did a tour at the Jameson and Guiness factories. These two tours were both very interesting and informative. For Christmas last year my mum had found some Beer and Brewing magazines so gave them to us. There were many interesting articles in these about different beer styles, different ingredients, the history of beer in different countries. The article that I remember the most was about women and beer. You may be interested to know that women were actually the first beer brewers, and it goes way back to ancient Egypt times. Over the time it went hand in hand with baking bread which makes sense as similar ingredients are used. Women were the main drinkers of it as well. At weddings a bride-ale was created and sold at the wedding and the profits were a gift to the couple. For centuries it was brewed and sold entirely by the women, and each household tended to have their own recipe. It was only when men saw the commercial value and profit in it that it started to change hands.

In recent years perhaps you have noticed an increase of variety in the dockets you get on the end of a Woolies or Coles reciept: Little Creatures, Matilda Bay, James Squire, Coopers. Microwbrewing, homebrewing, and craftbrewing have been on the rise in Australia for at least the last 15 years and will only continue. However there are some craft beers thats are claiming either 'craft', 'microbrewery', or 'local', that may have started this way, but have now been sold in the mid nineties to the bigger companies. Whether you know this or not most pubs you visit will either stock Lion Nathan's branded beer or Carlton & United Breweries. Local microwbreweries hardly stand a chance. Here's some common Lion's brands: XXXX, Tooheys, James Squire, James Boags, Hahn, EMU/ Swan (originated in WA and still says it is WA is now actually produced in SA), 5 Seeds. Here's some common Carton & United Breweries (CUB): Victorian Bitter, Corona, Carlton Draught, Matilda Bay, Cascade. Depending on which major company owns your particular local watering hole will depend on what is served. After talking with Nigel and Robyn about how their beers are in some local pubs we found out it is an interesting and sometimes painful process to get it there. The beer taps/ pubs owned by the 2 major companies are not allowed to have any other branded beer flow through the taps. If a local or craft beer is of interest to the publican, they are allowed to stock it (some of the time), but they must provide separate beer taps and lines. More often than not the pub does not have separate taps and lines so they just stick with what they are allowed to serve. Other times they are more flexible and have their own taps and lines that they can put in what ever they want or they tell the local brewer that they will have to supply their own taps and beer lines. If you are lucky enough to find local beers, it will usually be in a separate part of the bar, or you will have to ask for it specifically and most of the time the label/ tag is not on the tap either.

(Please note that the photo of where to find the beers was taken from the Lucky Bay Brewing Facebook page, there is a slight error, Skippy Rock is available at Taylors not Sandy Hook, this is all open to change in the future too.) 

Happy Travels


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