At the start of 2023, Perth welcomed another brewpub to its growing collection – and what a venue and story it represents. Not too long before greeting the first guests to arrive at The Clubroom in City West, the team behind Phat Brew Club were still playing around as homebrewers, before success in a competition sent them hurtling in a rather different direction.
Prior to entering the Margaret River Brewhouse's Backyard Brewing Tournament in 2020, Travis Moore and his football mates had seen their love of brewing grow organically from a simple homebrewing kit via hosting homebrew events of their own. But everything changed when their Phat Porter took out top spot.
Part of the prize was to have their winning brew scaled up for commercial release, an opportunity they grabbed with all their hands, following it up soon afterwards with the release of a fruit salad sour called Phatizzle.
“Winning the competition led to us commercially brewing the beer,” Trav says, “which gave us the belief that our beers were good enough to mix it with the best.”
Those beers laid down the platform for what’s one of the most distinctively-named and presented brewing companies in all of Australia, let alone WA, not least thanks to the giant green hop monster (a nod to one of their good mates) who forms their logo and adorns their cans.
Once given that leg-up by Margaret River Brewhouse, they set about building an audience for their beers, which are as diverse as their non-PBC jobs – Trav a recreation facilities manager, Steve Booth an engineer, Terri Moore a phys ed teacher, Robert Lockhart a chemist, Tim Youngs an architect, and Alex Hamilton an electrician. Initially, these took shape on other brewers’ kits, with new recipes developed within the team before Travis oversaw their transition to full-blown release.
Now, however, with their mission taking a massive leap forward with the opening of the 400-capacity Clubroom featuring taphouse, alfresco area and restaurant, they have full control of the brewing process. Within their City West home is a 10-hec brewery, where Trav has been joined by former Blasta brewer Justin Scrivener.
It's a set up that meant that, as soon as they opened to the public, 12 of the 16 taps were pouring different Phat Brew Club beers – which will probably be 14 out of 16 by the time you head in. As well as the beers for which they've become known, not least the colourful sours, they're using the venue as a testing ground: many releases will be venue-only initially and, if popular, brewed again and sent out into the wider market.
The Clubroom is within walking distance of Perth’s CBD and conveniently located directly across the road from City West train station, placing it among good company too: just a stone’s throw away from plenty of other breweries in the West Leederville, Subiaco and Northbridge precincts.
It's been built inside a building that had lain empty for around a dozen years; its dormancy meant a fair bit of work was required to get it into shape, but the structure provides a canvas upon which their splashes of trademark bright lime green and orange combined with plenty of greenery and artwork created especially for the venue can shine.
"It just suits us," Trav says. "The whole feel of it just works."
In reality, that means a brewpub with screens for sport, a sandpit and toys for kids, and a warm welcome for your four-legged friends. It goes without saying, too, that there's a big focus on beer and food.
As for food, you can tuck into vibrant Asian-inspired fare designed to be a perfect partner for Phat Brew Club’s innovative beers. The kitchen is overseen by UK expat chef Ian Macintosh who we're rather happy to say we introduced to Trav at a Crafty Pint blind tasting in 2022 – not that we knew it would lead to this.
Look out for regular events, from acoustic music and DJs on weekends to beer-focused sessions tied to new releases too.
“We have a vision to create a ‘Culture of Good Times’ at the venue, not only about ensuring all those that come to our venue have a fun experience, but also about creating an environment where our awesome team of people enjoy coming to work and have a bloody good time doing it,” Trav says. “We want to be known as one of the best breweries in WA.”
It’s a bold ambition, but given the buzz they caused with their releases, the warm welcome The Clubroom has received, and the fact their brewing roots go far deeper than that first batch of Phat Porter, we’re sure the lime green hop monster will give it a red hot go.