When you tell people you are going on holiday to Margaret River they will immediately start banging on about wineries. As both you and I are enlightened (and possibly bearded) beery folk we know that the wineries are all well and good but what is really interesting is the breweries.
Before I took the Pet Shop Boy’s advice or alternatively the Village People’s advice and went west I did a little bit of research. Now I know, as I’m sure you know about the big boys of the WA craft brewing scene, names like Feral, Bootleg, Mash and Colonial, but after a quick trip around the interwebs I discovered that there were more than a few breweries that I’d never heard of.
One of these was Eagle Bay Brewing, in the town of, you guessed it Eagle Bay. I realised quickly that this was not far from where we were staying in a town called Dunsborough which by the way is home to two excellent bars, a Clancy’s Fish Pub and the Pourhouse, which I’m putting just behind the Wheaty as my favourite non-Victorian pub. Given its proximity it’s not surprising that we made it there on our first day in Margaret River.
And I have to say I’m very glad we made the trip. It is a stunning winery/brewery. You are can see the brewery from a distance as the modern sandstone brewery/restaurant building is perched on the top of a hill.
We made our way through the doors, surveyed the situation and as we were on the top of a hill we could see that if we sat out the front we would have a great view. I turned to Jordan, pointed to the outdoor area and told her life is peaceful there, in the open air, where the skies are blue, sit there is what we needed to do.
So sit we did to partake in a sampler of beers. We started with the Kolsch which was very good, clean and refreshing with a nice bite in the aftertaste – Pint.
Next up was the Vienna Lager which was another good beer, a touch of malt and sweetness in the body, perhaps even a hint of honey if you used your imagination a little. It was all very well balanced with some traditional German hops. – Pint
Now I’m willing to claim that WA breweries do better mid strength beers than anyone and the Eagle Bay Mild Ale is no exception. It’s always a tough task to impress the beer wanker with a mid strength but this goes very close to being the best mid strength beer I’ve ever tasted. It’s a nice English style, good malt driven flavour, and a little honey in there too – very Impressive – Pint.
I had high hopes moving into the Pale Ale given the exceptional lighter style beers they had produced, but I have to say this one was a little middle of the road for me. It was okay, but it could have been so much better, it just needed to be turned up a bit for me. – Schooner.
Next up the ESB which was a return to form for Eagle Bay, it had a great mouthfeel, both silky and solid all at the same time, nice fruity hop tones in it too – I wanted more – Pint
And last up was a Chocolate Cocoa stout, which used the husks of the cocoa bean, a waste product from making chocolate. This was nice beer, but I didn’t find it particularly luxurious and chocolaty which I was hoping for. If you had given it to me and told me it was a dark ale I would have believed you and enjoyed it, but as a chocolate stout I was left a little underwhelmed – Schooner.
So we spent a lovely afternoon at Eagle Bay, partook in some very nice brews, the ESB probably being the standout, and got to sit in the sun.
Also an extra special mention for some very well written beer tasting notes, we particularly liked the note on the ESB – ‘You probably won’t like this if your favourite beer is Corona.’ Perhaps I should put that warning on this website.
Long Bow You Tube video:
It has to be Go West by the Pet Shop Boys: