Beers in the west have sure come a long way from the humble bush chook.
Busselton’s locally owned Shelter Brewing Co is a recent addition to the thriving West Australian beer scene, joining stalwarts like Little Creatures, Colonial and Bootleg from that part of the world.
As well as producing an array of epic froffies, Shelter run an insightful brewery tour that also happens to be pretty laidback – like everything else here.
Seagulls, the smell of salt and probably a fair amount of sun are likely to be what greets you at Shelter, and it’s difficult to escape the feeling of that you’re in a Tim Winton novel. The brewery itself is humungous, with an arched roof that is typical of the architecture in this part of the world. Out the front is green lawn that leads up to the beach, and the longest jetty in the southern hemisphere.
Inside, the brewery has a capacity of about 800, and has bands playing occasionally. Tom from Shelter takes us around and tells us that 80% of the building’s power comes from the sun, the same ample sun that shines in through the gigantic wall to floor windows in the north-facing building, creating the pleasant aesthetic of drinking a beer in the sun whether you’re sitting inside or outside. He explains Shelter’s philosophy when it comes to brewing beer, which is typically laidback; “we brew beers that we want to drink”.
We walk along a platform, past a row of truly enormous vats while Tom explains the brewing process, made easier to understand with brewers brewing away right in front of us. Magic right there in front of our eyes.
There’s seven beers on tap – ignore any misgivings you might have when you hear the name of the brand-new and limited edition Beetroot Stout. It’s a smoky type of operation that is (thankfully) more stout than beetroot, and it’s delicious. The Indian Pale Ale is great too.
Shelter generally brews seven core beers, and you can get them from from bars and bottle shops around Western Australia, and available to order online for the rest of Australia.
Busselton is located 40 minutes north of Margaret River. Jetstar flights go direct there from most major cities in Australia, and you’ll have to go through if you’re driving from Perth. Go on, stop in for a froffie.
Tours are available daily. They cost $65 and you get a fascinating tour of the brewery, tasting paddle, pint, lunch and 10% off merch and takeaway beer.