I like to think of Bush Shack brewery as the MONA/Moo Brew of the West. Moo Brew is of course the very stylish beer with a brewery/cellar door which is housed within MONA just outside Hobart in Tassie and is owned by a multi-millionaire.
Bush Shack is a little ramshackle brewery at the end of a dirt road in the middle of a forest about two and half to three hours south of Perth, and is owned by someone I don’t know but probably isn’t a multi-millionaire (although it is WA so you never know) but they are connected in my mind as right next to the brewery is an art gallery which is filled with lots of interesting modern art.
See how they are almost exactly the same?
I have to say Bush Shack was a little bit of a revelation for me. I had read some information about it and thought their beer selection seemed a little gimmicky and their approach was perhaps a touch inauthentic, but after trying a range of beers I now realise that they are actually a good brewery, so have a couple of gimmicks to get the tourist in but actually also produce some great solid beers.
All up we tried five beers:
Strawberry Blonde – a blonde lager made with fresh strawberries and although it has a nice sweetness in the aftertaste, I wouldn’t have picked it as strawberries, but it was a nice sessionable lager though – Schooner
Chilli beer – have to say not getting much chilli, a hint of heat in the aftertaste but it’s not blow your head off obvious. Having said that I’m not sure I want a blow your head off Chilli Beer. This was okay but not great – Schooner
The Bush Shack brewery, where life is wonky
Dark roast wheat beer – Finally we moved into the more traditional beer styles, which were always going to appeal to me a bit more. This was pretty good too, it smelt of a nutty wet coffee, had some nice lacing and a smooth mouthfeel. It could be a bit bigger, but really quite good – Pint
Yallingup Old – this was also a good beer, nice dense body, but still maintaining a smooth mouthfeel. Perhaps a little light in colour, but really very nice, good hint of old world bitterness in the aftertaste as well which is apt – Pint
Chocolate beer – which I think was a brown ale rather than a stout which is more normal for a chocolate brew. This smelt of burnt malt and had a hint of dark chocolate, great velvety mouthfeel, bitter dark chocolate, very drinkable not at all cloying – the pick of their beers – Pint
After the samplers it was time to pop across to the gallery which is called Red Cloud Art Space –I have to say this was also a revelation, there was a great selection of quite contemporary art at reasonable prices – so reasonable we bought a great little painting there. As a bonus it took them a little time to work out the shipping cost to Melbourne so we had time to pop back over to Bush Shack and have another beer – the chocolate beer.
Bush Shack is different to the other breweries we went to, it was a touch rustic and just a little bit school campy but you know, with beer. There were large gum trees, a playground made of logs which reminded me a bit of the ‘Big Fort’ at St Pat’s primary school before they rebuilt it and made it safe after someone fell from the top. I guess childhood safety regulations haven’t got as far as Yallingup yet.