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Beer paddle at Golden West

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By Gail Williams

A new brewery - complete with garden - is drawing in beer fans to Hay Street. Gail Williams meets the team behind the Golden West Brewing Company.

Teachers at Christ Church Grammar are wondering just what was in the water at their prestigious boys’ school in 2002.

The reason? A healthy smattering of the graduates from that year are using their expensive educations to turn H2O into … not wine, but beer.

Subiaco residents are the winners. They’re slaking their summertime thirsts with paddles of Fresh India Pale Ale, Smooth Bourbon Vanilla Porter and Classic Golden Ale at Golden West Brewing Company, the suburb’s first brewery, which opened on the old Ricarda site on Hay Street in December.

Five of the founders of the company which rejuvenated a 120-year-old Western Australian soft drink brand name to become Golden West Brewing Co. are former Christ Church boys – Daniel Gammell, Daniel Burt, Jai Tulsi, Thomas Luke and Stuart Nicholls.

Having graduated in 2002 they forged careers in oil and gas, engineering, finance and psychology, but kept in touch through their common interest in home brewing.

After a particularly enthusiastic tasting one of them mused: “I wonder how this beer would go in the actual marketplace.”

Not long after they joined forces with Cristobal and Rafael Moreno and were brewing beer in Leederville, not far from the old premises of J.J. Wallis who established the Golden West Aerated Water Co in 1896.

They couldn’t keep up with the demand for the modern pale ales and lagers which began featuring on drinks lists at popular venues like Lalla Rookh and The Cottesloe Beach Hotel.

Unable to get a licence for their Leederville venue the team looked to Subiaco to fulfil their grain-to-glass dream of offering their 17 beers –  brewed on site by master brewer Tim Wren – to around 380 punters in a beer garden, family-friendly setting.

Longtime fans of Subiaco, they were convinced that the suburb is on the cusp of a revival and needed little convincing to take a punt. In another connection they were welcomed into the ‘hood by two more former Christ Church boys at the Subiaco Hotel – Lawson Douglas and Dave Allen – who became their new neighbors.

“The old Ricarda site was perfect,” says Burt, a Subi resident, whose wife, Clementine, works at Klopper & Davis Architects.

“The building was not heritage listed but in giving it a complete makeover we have tried to maintain the original building as much as possible retaining the old floorboards and keeping as much character as we could. Hub Interiors did the fit-out.”

When the doors opened to welcome enthusiastic locals with a frothy pint the tanks were still being commissioned. So the beer is still currently being brewed in Leederville.

In the meantime Subi-ites and lager lovers from several suburbs away pile in to the beer garden, a former car park, to while away an afternoon.

Those looking for a parmi will be disappointed. Instead, they can expect Kerala Fried Chicken, spiced lamb and veal kofta, bhajia onion rings and salt and pepper calamari coming from a kitchen where head chef Head Chef Dheeraj Khanna is king and southern Asian is his thing.

So, what do the locals think?

We popped in on a balmy Sunday arvo to see what the locals think about the six brews currently on offer, along with some carefully curated offerings from other local brews and bottled beer. We discovered three happy longtime beer drinking dudes enjoying a paddle or two.

Here’s what they thought:

Phil Rundell:

“The venue location is excellent with its indoor/outdoor areas. It’s great that it is dog friendly and kid friendly. Loved the Smooth Bourbon Vanilla Porter which was, indeed, robust. I don’t know about it hugging my heart though like it says in the tasting notes.”

Mark Young:

“Looking forward to seeing the beer brewed onsite. Very happy it’s walking distance from home. I hope they’ll keep experimenting with the beers to develop some unique flavours. A great place for locals to meet.”

Steve Arnott:

“This venue provides a very enjoyable environment for Subi people. I enjoyed the layout and selection of beers.”

And if that is not entertainment enough, stand by for the face painting and bubble blowing on Sunday afternoon when kids and their Mums and Dads are welcome.

And, of course there’s another Christ Church twist with the live music.

Another graduate from 2002, Will Udall, will get a regular gig with his accoustic guitar. Of course, he will.

Golden West is one of the seven venues on the Urban Craft Beer Crawl happening on Saturday, 11 June. The event is sold out but you can join the waitlist!


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  • Subiaco, Subiaco, WA 6008