September 7, 2016

A craft beer drinker is in danger of dying of thirst in a particular part of Perth.


The northern suburbs of the WA capital boast close to 1 million residents. Pity them if they like to experiment with brews tastings. There is certainly no chance of enjoying a fresh one close to home.


While the craft segment, beer choice as we like to call it, is blossoming the tumbleweeds are blowing through a veritable ghost town in terms of local breweries.


Just last week The Sip was alerted to another micro set-up emerging from Fremantle.


Like it was when Matilda Bay kick started beer choice in the early 1980s, the port has become a mecca for WA beer makers.


Little Creatures, the Monk, Otherside, South Fremantle and even Gage Roads consider themselves part of the harbour scene.


Of the near 50 operations linked to the WA Brewers Association, one fifth are located down south. Bootleg, Cheeky Monkey, Eagle Bay, Black and the Beer Farm are spearheading the presence in and around the Margaret River region.


Feral, Mash, Homestead, Duckstein and Elmars have long been settled in the Swan Valley on the fringe of Perth. The Generous Squire and Northbridge Brewing Company are in the Central Business District.


However, if you live anywhere between North Perth and Wanneroo and would like to find a “local” brewing operation then you’d be better off looking for a bottle top on the moon.


The only brewery/brewpub that exists in the metropolitan area north of the Swan River is the Indian Ocean operation in Mindarie.


Now The Sip has to concede it is a big fan of what Jackson Purser and Brody Watts are doing at the seaside venue. Their Kolsch is particularly pleasurable and at least it travels in kegs back towards the CBD 40km away for punters to enjoy.


A visit to Indian Ocean brewpub in summer is almost an institution on the west coast.


But the tyranny of distance means it is out of reach as a regular haunt for those living in Balcatta, Greenwood, Duncraig, Warwick, Trigg and on and on.


Even the supply of pubs with a strong accent on beer choice are hard to find top side of Scarborough Beach Road.


Maybe it gets down to the old economics of supply and demand. Yet it is tough to reconcile that people who live in the northern suburbs don’t enjoy a craft beer as much as those “down south”.


A recent drive past the old Dianella Hotel site was particularly interesting.

Once one of Perth’s thriving pubs the Dianella has gone to dust, bulldozed to make way for a supermarket.


It is a shame to lose a drinking hole in such a populated area and one that will undoubtedly gain a light rail or maxi bus service alongside Alexander Drive which runs past its old front doors.


Alas, it is too late to save the Dianella.


However, the opportunity a bright entrepreneur will take up the challenge to brew up a premises in the craft beer ghost zone.


Build it and they will come.


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