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Across Australia, recent months have seen some of the best-known craft breweries celebrate significant milestones. Feral turned 10. Mountain Goat reached 15. Holgate is about to release its 1000th brew, shortly after entering its teens as a brewery. They’re all still in short trousers compared to Last Drop, however, a WA brewery that last year celebrated 20 years of brewing.
In his first article for The Crafty Pint since moving to WA Max Brearley, the writer behind Pub Diaries, a site that many of you will have come across before, called in on brewery co-owner and head brewer Jan Bruckner. There, he suffered the hardship of sampling fresh wheat beer from the tanks and still managed to find the time to send us this…
Pulling up to The Last Drop Brewery in Perth’s Canning Vale, you’re hit with a strange juxtaposition. Bavarian brewhouse in a mock tudor style, an English tudor tavern as brewery tap, serving brews that are firmly Bavarian in character. It’s a screwed up mix that is worthy of a European royal family and one with as much pedigree. After a few minutes with Czech head brewer and co-owner Jan Bruckner (pictured above) this mish mash of European heritage is forgotten and it all makes perfect sense. This is Australia after all. Not Munich, Prague or London.
With the changes at the Sail & Anchor it could be argued that they are now the oldest craft brewery in WA, having been brewing now since 1992. Jan has been there for much of this time, having been in WA for over 20 years. He now speaks of the state as a local.
He has no doubt that the WA brewing scene is in good health but having been a trailblazer back in the 90s, this isn’t something that can be relied upon. With the eastern states having the advantage over WA of a population mass there’s scope there for the huge rise in brewers on both a retail and wholesale footing. He tells us WA still feels like it’s focused towards the retail brew pub model, but the advantage of a local market with money to spend is a renewed interest in craft beer that should lead to some growth in both retail and wholesale.
While at Last Drop, they do practice an amount of experimentation, their eye is on the core range such as their Pilsener and Wheat. Using brew kit salvaged and shipped from Bavaria, open fermentation and a mix of local and imported Bamberg malt they can confidently claim authenticity. When it gets down to issues of maturation the emphasis is definitely on taking time.
Jan tells us: “There’s no rush. We take eight to 12 weeks, where others take less time. For us it’s about good beer.”
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