Beer lovers are spoilt here in Western Australia.
Fremantle is considered to be the birthplace of Australian craft beer thanks to both Matilda Bay and Little Creatures having started in Freo.
Meanwhile down in the south-west, there are more than a dozen breweries to pick from and then there’s the Swan Valley right on Perth’s doorstep.
25 minutes away from Perth, an adventure in the Swan Valley is easy to organise, but then there’s always the problem of who will be the responsible friend? Who is the designated driver? Enter, UberVINO.
The idea is pretty simple, you and up to three friends create your very own tour of the Swan Valley, and your dedicated Uber driver takes you every kilometre of the way. No more rock, paper, scissors to see which friend stays off the booze and behind the wheel.
On Sunday the sunshine was damn glorious, and so I mapped out a four-stop brewery tour through the Swan Valley, kicking off at an 11 am arrival at Homestead Brewery, located within Mandoon Estate.
We discovered that arriving at 11 am is a bit of a pro tip because you beat the busy lunch rush. We sat in the bar and enjoyed one of their tasting paddles of four beers and an apple cider ($15), two speciality glasses of their new release beer – No.1 Belgian Pale Ale and Brown IPA. The Belgian Pale Ale was a stand out showcasing classic Belgian fruity esters, spicy phenols and a moreish dry finish.
Rather than having one big meal at one brewery we decided to nibble on small plates at each stop. At Homestead we picked two dishes from their small bites menu – octopus, chorizo, kipfler, chilli and parsley ($17) and the pork and veal terrine, port, sourdough, rhubarb, date chutney ($18).
Elmar’s In The Valley
For our second stop, we decided to go German. Elmar’s in the Valley has been a staple of the region for more than a decade with a beer list of German-inspired beers like Pilsner, Altbier and Wheat. You can pick from a one ($3), three ($8) or six ($15) beer tasting tray and they come in Elmar’s branded glassware. While at the bar we spotted fresh pretzels ($4) and we couldn’t resist; nor did we want to share, so we got one each. With live music, a vast beer garden and, of course, plenty of beer, it’s easy to see why so many were settling in for a Sunday session in the sunshine.
Next up we visited Mash Brewing and once again, struck by indecision and plenty of delicious choices, we ordered the tasting paddle of four beers ($14), and you can pick whatever beers you like. We chose two limited release beers, the Convergence Double IPA and Raisin the Bar, a Belgian Strong Ale and two of their staple brews, the Indian Ale and The Gov’nor. It has been a big year for Mash, they’ve been punching out creative, and well-made limited release brews and their brand has a whole new look too. Well rounded with dark fruit sweet and luscious mouthfeel, it will be a shame when the last drop of Rasin the Bar leaves the tap.
Despite the hectic lunch, the Mash kitchen got our small dishes out in a great time and we enjoyed our beers alongside the Five spice salt and pepper calamari ($16) and Abbey Ale Mac & Cheese ($15).
We finished the day at Feral Brewing, opting for big ol’ pints to do a proper cheers to a great time in the Valley. There’s plenty of beers on offer at Feral’s brewpub, 16 taps in the main bar and four in the beer garden, and the list includes plenty of beers that aren’t available outside the brewpub, giving beer geeks the perfect opportunity to boast on social media.
Grab a Feral growler or squealer, or be sure you’ve got yours with you so that you can take home fresh draught beer. Again, beer geek bragging rights are up for grabs here.
Cheers to UberVINO
The almost five-hour trip came to just under $200. Big shout out to Jay and his awesome red Dodge Nitro for being an excellent driver. The only downside of the day is we wanted to invite your Uber driver to have a drink with us but obviously they can’t!
UberVINO is available 10 am – 3 pm daily. It is $40 per hour with a $60 minimum spend. To book, type in the address of the first stop on your tour then swipe right and select ‘UberVINO’. After each stop, you can enter your new destination in the app. On our trip, however, I couldn’t see where to do this and instead we just kept the ride running in the app, and when the day was over, our driver ended the trip, and this worked just fine.
Swan Valley Cider and Ale Trail
Want to know where the best other beers and ciders are in the Valley? Check out the Swan Valley Cider and Ale Trail.
This post is sponsored by Swan Valley, Uber Australia and So Perth, the breweries were all chosen by girlplusbeer.