Margaret River's Colonial Brewing Co. is coming for the east coast. And while Sydneysiders have been treated to a mini tap takeover at the Newtown Hotel, Melburnians have been lucky enough to score an entire brewery. The WA brewers have opened their second outpost in Port Melbourne — complete with a new, state-of-the-art canning machine that spits out 100 tinnies a minute.
This tinnie-only brewery's motto, "brewed small, lived big", may be on the sentimental side, but it is a good way to describe Colonial's ethos. The Margaret River brewery is situated on a farm and the brand encapsulates Aussie country living. Colonial doesn't make beer for craft snobs alone — instead, they're dedicated to creating sessionable brews, geared toward the everyday drinker and craft converts, and their core range includes pale, IPA and Kölsch classics.
The beer to keep an eye out for is their Small Ale. A mid-strength beer in name only, the flavour profile and hop aroma successfully (and surprisingly) mimic a big West Coast IPA. For the cider heads out there, the newly released Bertie is refreshingly dry, though, we have to say, no match for the brews.
This 'average Aussie'-meets-craft beer drinker mentality is reinforced by their 360 tinnie lids — the lids peel off completely, allowing for great aroma and airation, while still allowing consumers to enjoy the satisfaction of a good ol' beer in a can. As beer nerds ourselves, we wouldn't say it's a true replacement for pouring into a glass, but you have to appreciate the thought. If you're lucky, they may even give you a tinnie straight off the line during a brewery tour — truly fresh as.
While the brewery is now officially launching its small town WA vibe into the east coast market, it isn't doing it without some self-awareness. When it comes to the Port Melbourne brewery, the fit-out is, well, much more Melbourne than its Margaret River counterpart. Think a lush indoor beer garden fitted out with hanging greenery, a graffiti wall and space for Food Truck Fridays, along with ping pong and beer pong tables (which utilises their 360 cans as cups, of course). On Thursday nights they're also doing a very reasonably priced pizza and pot deal for $10. The eight-tap wooden bar also has a makeshift feel, and it's all tucked inside of a small entryway that you'd never expect to expand into this massive warehouse.
You certainly couldn't mistake Colonial's brews for anything but Aussie beers, and we bet, as they expand, this WA brewery will go far in converting mainstream beer drinkers to craft — even those who swear they'll never go off VB.