In the past I’ve been known to claim that all stories were better if they had a monkey in them. Well I’m happy to say this one must be a corker, because it’s all about Cheeky Monkey Brewery located about half way between Dunsborough and Margaret River (the town not the region).
It’s a young brewery, just seven or so months old and I can tell you they ain’t doing things by halves (it’s not the WA way). The brewery is big, even by WA proportions, and to this Melbourne boy who is more used to bars that are made up of seven milk crates and three of nana’s old vinyl kitchen chairs in a converted space above an accountants office it seemed positively daunting.
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.
So I’ve spent the last week or so over in the West. That big old state famous for beaches, great big holes in the ground and a craft beer scene that us Melbournians thinks comes close to, but doesn’t exceed Melbourne’s. This is mainly because us Melbournians think that the world of good food and drink extends about as far west as Footscray and is made up of laneways tapas bars, coffee shops in former storage cupboards, food trucks and not much else.
Well I have returned from the Western Front with tales to tell. Beer soaked of course and over the course of the next little while (I’ve learnt that putting actual time frames on blog posts just makes me look lazy and unable to hit a deadline when I miss them) you will hear of my trips to many a brewery, from well known names like Little Creatures and Feral to those breweries people in the East have never heard of like Bush Shack and Occy’s.
But what have I learnt from my time over there? Well it’s true Western Australia does have a beer scene that would make a fight with Victoria’s beer scene pretty damn close, except of course why would beer scenes fight, beery people are friendly people. Make Beer not War and all that.