A lot of South West beer producers have taken something from Cowaramup Brewing Co.
And next weekend 20 of them will be striving to get another prized possession from owner Jeremy Good.
As it has done for the best part of a decade Cowaramup will be part of the South West Craft Beer Festival to be held at Signal Park in Busselton on Saturday.
This year Good has to pack another item in his travelling kit – and it is one his colleagues want to prise from his clutches.
At the 2018 event, Cowaramup’s Hefeweizen (4.6%) was judged by an expert panel to be the best beer in show. It was an outstanding feat considering there were more than 70 brews in contention.
The award is again up for consideration on February 16 and Good has prepared a fresh batch of the Hefeweizen to have another crack at the title.
There will be even more competition in 2019. The brewery list has grown with Wilson (Albany), Wild Hop (Yallingup) and Wedgetail (Bouvard) coming on board for what is one of the key dates on the WA beer calendar.
The size of this year’s festival is a giant leap from the first event in 2012 when fingers were enough to count the list of breweries. Now the tellers will have to take off their shoes and borrow the hand of a mate to account for this year’s stall holders.
It was significant Good was one of the driving forces for the introduction of the South West extravaganza, continuing the growing legacy he has provided for brewing in the region.
“I was there from day dot,” Good proudly recalled. “I was part of what you would probably call the steering committee.
“Michael Brookes (formerly Bootleg) had a connection with Jason Dover from Buzz Marketing through mountain biking. And Brookesy convinced Jason to put together a festival.
“On that initial committee was Brookesy, myself, Danial Wind from Bush Shack and Richard Moroney, who was then at Colonial.
“It has expanded into plenty of breweries and it is great to see.”
Cowaramup started 12 years ago, becoming a mainstay of the burgeoning brewing district near Margaret River.
In 2011, Good collected another honour – the Australian International Beer Awards champion trophy for Lager – for his Pilsener. The honour still holds pride of place in the 8HL brewpub on Treeton Road.
But Cowaramup has also helped kick start the careers of others who have had a big impact on beer in the region – and elsewhere.
“I’ve had a lot of backpackers work here, just doing bar work, who have got interested in brewing. They started not knowing an Ale from a Lager. I got these people interested and they have gone on to other things,” Good revealed.
“Jared Proudfoot was a regular customer when he lived down here. He asked me loads and loads of questions and did brew days with me. Then he took the leap by moving to BrewDog in Scotland and now the rest is history with him at Pirate Life.
“Ryan Nilsson-Linne at Bootleg started off as a barman here. Ross Terlick (Cheeky Monkey and now Rocky Ridge) was another barman. He showed interest. So I showed him how to do it and then he moved on.”
An Englishman who came to Australia for 12 months and stayed for 30 years, Good regularly returns to his homeland to scrutinise the brewing scene.
And the philosophies of many regional operations influences his choice of beers.
At the South West Craft Beer Festival Cowaramup will be fielding the Hefeweizen – how could it not – an English inspired India Pale Ale (5.5%), the Pilsener (5.2%) and a Chocolate Porter (5.4%).
Good was impressed by some of the Stouts and Porters on offer on his most recent tour of the UK and was inspired to produce something similar on his return to Cowaramup.
“I have a philosophy about why did I start to drink beer in the first place,” Good said.
“Sure beer gives us a funny old feeling after a couple. But I enjoy beer because of the flavour.
“I like balance in the malt, hops or the yeast as in the case of the Hef. I want all the bits and pieces used by the brewer to come together.
“And drinkability is important. I think the four beers we have at the festival offer that element. After all we want people when they finish a beer to have another.”
*The 2019 South West Craft Beer Festival will run from 11am-6pm at Signal Park, Busselton, on Saturday.