Are you a serious beer lover? If so, then chances are the countless wine country tours that head to the Swan Valley just don’t interest you. And there are plenty of those tours around, along with a few winery tours that stop at a brewery or two along the way. Still, it’s just not enough, is it? Let’s face it, you’re a beer lover, and beer is what you want… not those fancy little sips and swirling glasses that come with the fermented grape. And you probably wouldn’t be happy if the one or two brewery stops were overshadowed by the endless talk of wineries.
Oh, have I found the tour for you.
It’s called the Liquid Gold Brewery tour, and I can tell you from experience that this is a tour for SERIOUS BEER DRINKERS ONLY, or at least those that want to have a good, unpretentious time on their Perth holiday. Run by Top Gun Tours, this excursion will last pretty much the entire day, and it is filled with delicious food and snacks and a tasting total of 22 different beers from 5 unique breweries housed in the Swan Valley.
What can you expect?
- A fun, laid-back tour guide that wants to make sure you, and everyone, have a good time.
- Stops at five different breweries: Feral, Iron Bark, Elmar’s, Mash and Duckstein.
- Tastes of 22 different beers, and don’t be fooled by the word “tastes”.
- Full out fresh pizza lunch accompanied by homemade dampers and dips at Iron Bark.
- Samples of the fare provided at a few of the breweries, such as sausages and cheeses.
- Transport from Perth to Swan Valley by your designated driver (and tour guide) in a killer bus with classic beer-drinking rock tunes.
The day starts around 10am, which makes for the perfect Aussie Sunday session (or Friday).
After pick-up in the Perth CBD, I met my tour mates and my tour guide, Matt, the owner of Top Gun Tours. He assured us that we would have our fill of Aussie beers, and also that he wouldn’t bore us with commentary of the history of the area (unless we so desired). This is a beer tour, pure and simple, and I was actually a little excited to just take in the scenery on my own as songs like “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” and “Wild Thing” took over the airwaves. It was the perfect atmosphere to prepare my taste buds for the hours of tasting ahead.
This is not a typical tourist tour. Matt doesn’t advertise this in the hostels, so the primary patrons are actually locals looking to have a fun day with friends in the Swan Valley. It’s the perfect opportunity to chill with locals, which is refreshing for those that are staying in hostels and surrounded by backpackers day and night.
By 11am, you will be sitting with your very first tasting tray at Feral Brewing Company.
If you have a rule of no alcohol before noon, then you’ll be at a loss on this tour. We were well on our way to feeling a bit buzzed in the late hours of the morning with a 6 beer tasting tray at Feral Brewing Company. The setting for this brewery and restaurant was lovely – big wood beamed furniture, umbrellas, misting sprayers to cool off the outdoors and the lovely reddened dirt that paints the ground in WA.
You’ll have a filling lunch of wood-fired pizzas and fresh-baked damper and dips.
Iron Bark will be busy preparing your food as you get to choose 2 different midi-sized beers to drink. There are several wheat-y beers, and even a lime flavored beer that I was hoping would taste like a Corona. Nice try, guys, but it didn’t work for me. But that’s what a tasting day is for, and you’ll be wise to note that this stop provided each individual with an entire pint of beer and heaps of grub. Not bad!
There’s still 3 more breweries to go, so drink some water and get back on the bus.
A few of the stops are literally down the road from each other, so you’ll be able to spend more time in the breweries. Elmar’s is next and with the tastings, you will get to snack on some German sausages and cheeses. The big, open style of the dining room reminded me of a traditional German beer house – and this place appeared to be very family friendly. German beer lovers will be happy to know that all beers brewed here are done to German Purity Laws.
At brewery number four, it got a bit rough for me. I think all the little beers, heaps of food and the like really started to fill my stomach. So, personally, Mash Brewing will not stand out to me in the beer section, but I did find their beer-battered chips on the tasty side. I loved the clean interior with high tables and views into the brewing areas.
And, finally, we have Duckstein – what would be considered a German beer garden, and a lovely one at that. Here we were given a selection of their finest as we listened to some live music on a Sunday afternoon.
At this point, it is probably after 4pm and you have tasted 22 different local Perth beers.
We hopped back on the bus for the ride back to the city, everyone giddy and buzzed from a fun day in the valley. This is the time to make music requests as Matt, the tour guide, will have just about everything (just about) to suit any style. It’s also the perfect time to chug any water you may have brought with you so that you can try and avoid the daytime hangover!
I had a great time on this tour, and I would definitely recommend it to those that just enjoy a good beer (or five).
The Liquid Gold Brewery Tour runs on Fridays and Sundays and costs $135, which includes all transport, tastings and food. You can book on the Top Gun Tour website.
I was invited on this tour as a guest, but the article and opinions above are my own.