Swan Valley, located a mere half hour’s drive northeast of Western Australia’s capital city of Perth, recently unveiled a new trail experience that brings visitors through the area which is home to nine breweries and cideries producing some of the most contemporary and innovative beers and ciders in the whole of Australia.
Swan Valley may be best known as being one of the oldest winemaking regions in the whole Australia, but the region is keen to show that it produces more than good wine. Its well-trodden food and wine trail is already extremely popular with visiting tourists as well as Perth inhabitants eager to escape during weekends the regular bustle of city living, but Swan Valley’s new cider and ale trail is likely to inject even more life into an area that already sees some 3.1 million visits per annum.
Swan Valley’s cider and ale trail shines the spotlight on the region’s burgeoning breweries and thriving cideries that have sprung up over the years, some of which – like iconic craft brewery Feral Brewing Company founded in 2002 – have been around for a while, to newer ones such as Funk Cider established just last year.
Funk Cider is a small boutique cidery that’s the alcoholic offshoot of Michael Brothers Traditionally Pressed Juice Company, launched in 2016 by owners Dustin and Martin Michael. Which makes plenty of sense considering ciders are made from pressed apples and pears, after all. Its taproom boasts some 12 rotating taps of ciders, ranging from traditional and infused ciders to funky versions fermented with wild yeast such as the James Brown, or barrel-aged ones like The Sex Machine that sees cider made from Pink Lady apples aged in French oak barrels more commonly used for maturing wine to achieve additional complexity.
Valencia Complex, 55 Benara Road, Caversham | (08) 9377 4884 | www.funkcider.com.au
Homestead Brewery is the recently established brewing arm of the beautiful sprawling Mandoon Estate, which houses not just a winery and casual brewery cafe but also a fine dining restaurant as well. The fine dining restaurant looks lovely, but we totally enjoyed dining on some fish and chips along with a full beer tasting platter – which includes the Kaiser’s Choice wheat beer and the Thunderbird American-style pale ale – while watching head brewer Steve Wearing in action at the brewery’s German-engineered Schulz brew system or taking in the view of the vineyards.
10 Harris Road, Caversham | (08) 6279 0500 | www.mandoonestate.com.au
First founded in 2006, Mash Brewing has created many award-winning beers over the years but is probably most known in Western Australia for its best-selling Freo Doctor lager; like the cool breeze that blows over much of the southwestern coast of Western Australia it has quenched thirsts all across the region. Head brewer Charlie Hodgson (pictured) leads the brewing team here making a wide range of different beer styles – try the fully certified Abbey Ale and the Copycat IPA in particular – for distribution around the state as well as available right here in the taproom.
10250 West Swan Road, Henley Brook | (08) 9296 5588 | www.mashbrewing.com.au
We love Oakover Grounds for many reasons; the open grounds with a large pond for lounging around, the amazing coffee of FiORi Coffee which has a roasting facility here, the Oakover Wines made by winemaker Ragan Wood (pictured) such as his award-winning Cabernet Merlot and a delicate Shiraz, amongst others. Now there’s one more – Wood has also started to make his own cider, and his SideKick cider is made right here from locally sourced WA apples.
14 Yukich Close, Middle Swan | www.oakovergrounds.com.au
Feral Brewing Company
If you’re a craft beer fan, Feral Brewing Company needs little introduction. First founded in 2002, the family-owned, independent brewery is one of the few craft breweries that helped pioneer the explosive growth of the country’s craft beer scene. Its award-winning and best-selling Hop Hog introduced Australians to hoppy American-style ales, while Boris challenged palates with big roasty and highly alcoholic flavours of an imperial stout. Here at the Swan Valley, though, be sure to avail yourself of the brewpub exclusives such as the Watermelon Warhead sour berliner weisse or the outlandish Funk N’Phresh, an ale made with Brettonymces yeast.
152 Haddrill Road, Baskerville | (08) 9296 4657 | www.feralbrewing.com.au
For more information on the Swan Valley Cider and Ale Trail, you can visit their website here. To get to Swan Valley, Jetstar Asia flies direct from Singapore to Perth three times daily.