Homestead Brewery – where to next?

Situated within the Mandoon Estate in Caversham on the edge of the Swan Valley and half an hour east of the CBD, Homestead Brewery is possibly Perth’s most interesting player on the craft beer scene in WA.

The winery, brewery and restaurant occupy a bright and open contemporary space overlooking the vineyard. Down the hill you’ll find an outdoor bar with a food station, a kids playground and an art gallery, after which the land slopes down to the gum tree-lined banks of the lethargic Swan River. It’s a brilliantly appointed venue that fits in wonderfully with its natural setting.

Brewing a relatively narrow selection of mostly German and Belgian styles one thing is immediately clear – there’s a laser-like focus and precision at work here. The beers are all to style and outstandingly vibrant and fresh. Everything is clean and well-presented.

This is surely one of the benefits of such a small taplist. There’s no overreach, just a clear commitment to quality. Using the only German-made (and immaculately shiny) Schulz system in Australia there are just five beers on regular rotation :

  • Thunderbird (American Pale Ale)
  • Brauhaus (Münich Helles)
  • No.1 (Belgian Pale Ale)
  • Kaiser's Choice (Hefeweizen)
  • Black Swan (Black IPA)

While all are superb, the 7.0% Black Swan is the star. Comfortably rivalling nearby neighbour Feral’s Karma Citra this is a stunning beer. Aggressively hopped, with a razor sharp flavour profile and graceful to boot, I just wish they had a bottling line for this beer alone! You can’t ignore it, you can’t just sip away thoughtlessly.

On the day I visited they also had Rising Sun on tap, a Belgian Summer Ale – a punchy and vibrant ale with big peach and stone fruit character. Dangerously moreish and with just the right balance of malt to restrain all that sweetness from becoming cloying.

There was also another limited edition beer available – the Velvet Black Cherry Sour. It was quite simply world class. A bracingly sharp, palate cleansing sour with an aftertaste and aroma that echoed on and on. I wish I took a better photo to showcase the deep purple/black cherry colour. Everything about this beer screamed ‘put me in a 750mL bottle and cellar me’. I understand it went down very well at GABS 2015 which wouldn’t surprise me at all, and I couldn’t quite believe it clocked in at 9.8%.

However……

As far as I know that’s it. We were drinking what was left of that one batch made by former head brewer Ron Feruglio (ex Temple Brewing, Melbourne) who has since moved on, after a short stint in charge. I know nothing about the circumstances of his departure but I believe it means an end to the nascent barrel ageing program, and possibly by extension, an end to the ambitious intent the brewery was founded upon http://craftypint.com/brewery/262/Homestead-Brewery

Speaking strictly as a beer lover it would be sad to see an end to what has been a very promising beginning. Conversely this venue is drawing in punters in huge numbers and the impression you’re left with is it’s not on the back of an eclectic beer menu. It does a roaring trade and yet generates little buzz within the local beer scene in Perth. I would love to see them stand taller with their beer. They have every right to be proud of their line up and their current head brewer, Ron’s former assistant I believe, has clearly been trained well and has serious chops of his own. They’re at an interesting crossroads and I’m keen to see which direction they choose.