The Perth Royal Beer Awards is the premier beer competition in Western Australia (WA), welcoming entries from large, medium and small craft breweries. It has been celebrating the continual expansion and innovation of the beer industry since 2007.
The Margaret River region had a great night, with many local breweries taking home a trophy or two. Beerfarm have a bright future after being awarded the HPA trophy for Best IPA Packaged. Located on a working farm, their commitment to great beer, great people, and the land we live on is something we should all get behind to ensure a sustainable future for our industry. After a well-earned week off, we got in touch with head brewer Josh Thomas to congratulate the team and ask a few questions about their environmental practices and smashable beers.
Q: Congrats on your recent success at the 2021 Perth Royal Beer Awards. We’re glad to be able to support your success by sponsoring the trophy for Best IPA Packaged. What does an award like this mean to you?
A: To get a gold in any competition is a great accolade. It confirms your brewery is producing an exceptional product and has been judged as such from many respected and experienced palates in the industry. The fact it’s in pack is even greater gratification and helps you maintain confidence in your packaging processes as well as the recipe in general. Taking home the trophy for best packaged IPA is a great result that we accept very humbly – to get any trophy at a beer awards you’re likely to be up against a bunch of other exceptional gold medal beers, so being named the best of the bunch is awesome!
Q: Royal Haze also placed at number 18 in the GABS Hottest 100. How do you go about maximising hop flavour in this big, hazy IPA?
A: It mostly comes down to process and selecting quality hops that lend themselves to the hazy style. The recipe of course plays a big part, but I think in terms of maximising hop flavour it’s all about the process of how and when you add hops – sometimes less is more.
Q: Your brewery is located on a working farm, which makes it a pretty special place to visit. For those who haven’t had the pleasure, can you paint a picture of the experience you create for beer lovers?
A: It is exactly that. We are located on 160 acres of farmland in the south west of WA. The venue is an old dairy built in the 60’s that we converted into a farm that milks beer not cows. When you’re enjoying a beer off the wood at the farm, it’s hard not to feel relaxed with some cracking views, food and brews.
Q: Beerfarm run a herd of Black Angus cattle who eat spent grain from the brewing process. Do you know them all by name? Or do you keep your distance knowing they’re eventually going to be served up by the kitchen crew?
A: We have around 80 Black Angus cattle that roam the paddocks in Metricup which feed off the grass and spent grain from our brews. We make sure they have ample food and space to frolic. As a result, the produce that makes its way through the kitchen is top notch, using just about every single part of the beast gives the full paddock to plate experience. I definitely don’t know them all by name, but I do sometimes name the ones with funky hairstyles.
Q: Your unique situation means you’re also more sensitive to the challenges Aussie farmers face. Tell us how you support your neighbours by making sours packed full of rescued fruit?
A: Absolutely! We’re not perfect, but we can all try to be better right? With our fruited sours, or any beer with fruit in it, we aim to reduce agricultural food waste. There is a lot of food waste people don’t know about nor care about. Yes, fruit and veg are compostable, but a lot of resource, time and care goes into growing it. We do the best we can to reduce waste both agriculturally and in general.
Q: A few other Margaret River breweries are on the up as well. What do you think is driving the region’s resurgence in recent years, resulting in some ridiculously high-quality beers?
A: I think it’s about the hearts of the people driving the beer industry in the south west. We all help each other out, we all share, and we all strive to produce the highest quality beers we can. We are situated in a region where a lot of people come to visit and the more exceptional beers we put out as a collective, the more people want to come to the region to enjoy the brewery experience as a whole.