Besides drinking great beer and having a wonderful time, the goal for Merideth and I on our Australian trip was to reach the 700 brewery milestone. As we ticked off breweries early in the trip, we kept thoughts of 700 in the background. But once we passed 695, we started talking about where each of our milestones would be.
My 700th came out of left field. While at Little Creatures during our Urban Beer Hike, our friend Todd came up with the idea that we needed to tour Swan Brewery, or the “mothership” as he called it. Knowing one of the brewers there, Justin, Todd immediately got on his douchephone and arranged a visit for Merideth and me. Thus, my 700th brewery was ordained.
Known for beers such as Emu Bitter and Export Lager, Swan Brewery was founded in 1837. From 1879, Swan was housed in a beautiful brick building on the outskirts of Perth along the Swan River. Today, the building houses offices and posh restaurants including a brewpub, the Old Brewery.
In the late 1970s, a fully automated brewery was built in nearby Canning Vale. Located in the industrial part of town, our visit began at the guard gate where Merideth and I were issued visitor passes and orange vests. On to the reception area, we met Justin for the first time.
Justin, formerly a brewer at the Monk in Fremantle, showed us around the sprawling complex from the grain silos to the packaging line. Modern when it was built, walking around the Swan Brewery, we almost felt like we were in a museum.
We finished up in the brewery bar where Justin cracked open a couple of bottles of Swan Draught, a light-bodied Pale Lager. Taking a big swig, 700 was officially in the books. Merideth and I also tried Emu Bitter, another Pale Lager. Both brews had a similar flavor profile, but I preferred the Emu Bitter as it had a bit more of a hop bite.
My 700th might have not been the epic brewery that I envisioned for such a milestone, but it was a special experience nonetheless. We got a personal tour of Australian beer history and on top of that, Merideth and I increased our circle of Australian beer friends. Thanks to Justin taking time to show us around and to Todd for insisting we visit the mothership.