Born out of a passionate backyard brewing project in suburban Perth, Black Brewing Co has its roots firmly planted in the ethos of “making good booze and having fun” and continues to do business with this in mind at its Caves Road home in Margaret River.
The brewery shares a name with one of world’s largest freshwater crayfish, the critically endangered Black Hairy Marron, found only in Margaret River and the creature that adorns Black's labels, albeit straddled by a Dionysus-like character. (We're pretty sure god-transportation isn't the cause for the low numbers, however.)
Opened in late 2015, Black’s Margaret River location houses a brewery and distillery on the northern third of Caves Road under the Caves Road Collective banner. Indeed, the vines, manicured gardens and Zen reflection pool on approach to the brewery might have you believing you’ve arrived to sample chardonnay rather than any number of beers. Yet, despite its cavernous, modern digs, the brewery steers clear of the R&M Williams, "chinos and checked shirt" set, even if there is a subtle influence from the neighbours.
Black’s executive chef offers a pared-back menu including shared dishes and pizzas with a focus on using great quality local ingredients from the ocean, pasture, garden and pantry. The tight menu covers the ocean, garden and pasture with bespoke bar snacks and a kids' menu that should enable a long afternoon of share plate grazing, watching the sun lengthen the eucalypt shadows on the estate’s lake.
Scan the fonts and you'll see sessionability is the focus. Session Ale and Lager keep things straight ahead, while the Pale Ale and IPA bring a modernity that will sate craftier tastes. Then, as the days darken, the lactose-infused Bao Bao Milk Stout brings a similar level of drinking pleasure that’s best enjoyed beside the brewery’s double-sided fireplace.
The original German-built brewery has been extensively expanded to allow for increased volume and special releases that have included a 8.5 percent ABV Bad Boy Bao Bao Imperial Milk Stout and seasonal release sours in an approach that keeps things interesting for drinkers and brewers alike.
Collaborations also include the memorable Kuld Creamery ice cream beers where the brewery and ice creamery have collaborated multiple times for the likes of Neopolitan Stout, Orange Sherbert Berliner Weisse and the most recent Banana Split Dunkel Weiss.
Additionally, Black a wide range of gins and liqueurs, under the Dune Distilling label, which uses water from an onsite natural spring and has a range of other spirits taking shape in barrel.
As for those pushed for time during a busy South West weekender, they can take the full complement of Black's commitment to “making good booze and having fun” home with them via the venue’s cellar door.