Established in 1994 in the Margaret River wine region, this long-running craft brewery bills itself as ‘an oasis of beer in a desert of wine’. The metaphor never quite rang true and even less so in recent years – there are now at least half a dozen other beer-makers scattered around the thriving wine territory. Most of them have doubtless been inspired by the ongoing success of Bootleg. Bootleg is based in a sprawling homestead-style building with an ample outdoor beer garden and a complex that includes the brewing plant, a tasting room, bar and restaurant. Head Brewer Michael Brookes has clocked up more than a decade at the brewery, which has been expanded and re-vamped over the years in an attempt to keep up with demand. A new bottling line was installed during 2007 on the back of plans to distribute their beers as far as the eastern states. The core range of beers has remained fairly constant over the years, including the hoppy Wils Pils and the sweetish Tom’s Brown Ale (Bootleg is one of only a few local producers to nail the northern English brown-ale style). A blown boiler set back brewery production during 2008 but Brookes managed to come to an arrangement with the nearby Cowaramup Brewery so that he could keep up production while the problem was rectified.
Bootleg’s range features a cross-section of true-to-style brews with something to appeal to most beer palates, as well as some admirable seasonal releases.
Bootleg Brewery Raging Bull
Behind the Label
There has never been anything illicit about Bootleg’s operation but, as pioneers of brewing in a winemaking region, perhaps they perceived themselves as opportunists of sorts. Besides, their original brewing equipment came from a short-lived outfit called Moonshine Brewery so there was a definite continuation of the outlaw spirit in the name. Raging Bull was the nickname of American boxer Jake LaMotta and the title of a film based on his life starring Robert De Niro; the beer is a complex and punchy strong ale with espresso, treacle and dark plummy notes.
Cnr Johnson and Pusey roads, Wilyabrup 6280 Tours by appointment; tastings; bar; restaurant; takeaway salescomments powered by Disqus