Come for the wine, stay for the craft beer: your guide to the best craft breweries in the Margaret River region.
A world-class wine region with a dramatically beautiful coastline and lush green interior, it’s little wonder that the Margaret River has won over the heart of many a traveller. But while wine (and in more recent times, its winery restaurants) might be the region’s major calling card, it’s far from being the only reason to visit. This bucolic corner of WA is also home to a burgeoning craft brewery scene that’s slowly turning heads nationwide.
From a microbrewery located in an industrial precinct to a cosy taphouse that’s housed in the head brewer’s old family home, and a brewpub that’s set on an old dairy farm amid rolling pastureland, Margaret River’s breweries are as diverse as they are plentiful.
For a point-to-point guide that takes in the best of the brewery offering in Margaret River, follow our carefully curated craft brewery trail below. It’s just shy of 100 kilometres and takes roughly 90 minutes to drive end-to-end.
Rocky Ridge Brewing Co, Busselton
If walking into Rocky Ridge Brewing Co feels like you’ve arrived home, you wouldn’t be mistaken: this inviting Busselton brewery’s taproom is in fact located within the former family home of its owners, the Coates family.
Discover why Rocky Ridge Brewing Co. has amassed a cult following.
The building dates back to the 1930s, and was revamped and opened in its current guise, as a temple to beer, in 2019. It’s since gone from strength to strength, earning a legion of loyal fans from near and far who come for the slow-brewed, preservative-free and unpasteurised beers served from its 25 rotating taps, as well as its burger menu.
Sink your teeth into the burgers at Rocky Ridge Brewing Co.
You’ll find all the usual suspects here (hazy IPAs, unfiltered lagers, pale ales) as well as a raft of unconventional limited edition releases – think maple bacon stout and an imperial dragon fruit sour. Pull up a pew at one of the long tables running down the side of the house, watch the world go by from the high-top tables in the paved front yard, or cosy up under the heaters in the back garden.
Find out what all the fuss is about and taste these top local brews for yourself.
Not only is the Coates family serious about beer, but they’re pretty serious about sustainability too. Their off-site Jindong brewery is completely off-grid and achieved carbon-neutral status in 2021.
The Sophisticated Beast, Vasse
It’s an easy 15-minute drive from Busselton’s Rocky Ridge to this Vasse microbrewery, where small-batch, wild ferment, farmhouse-style beers reign supreme.
The self-proclaimed smallest brewery in Western Australia, The Sophisticated Beast lies hidden in the unlikely location of an industrial estate. And true to owner-operator Ryan White’s word, the brewery and its cellar door are wildly modest, with room for just a handful of guests.
Swing by for a fruited sour, gluten-free IPA, or even a cold-brew coffee. Time your trip right and you may even land a sneaky sample of oak-aged beer straight from the barrel. Opening hours are extremely limited (and subject to change) so it pays to check them in advance.
Cheeky Monkey HQ Taphouse, Vasse
Just a few doors down from The Sophisticated Beast (quite literally a four-minute walk away) lies Cheeky Monkey HQ Taphouse (currently undergoing renovations and set to reopen in November 2022). Much like its neighbour, the hours at this Margaret River brewery and taphouse are a touch out of the norm and there’s also an industrial bare-bones aesthetic.
The Cheeky Monkey HQ Taphouse in Vasse delivers an industrial bare-bones aesthetic. (Image: Lewis French)
On the flipside, you can sink a cold pint of an uncomplicated crisp multi-award winning XPA while admiring the inner workings of a working brewery, from mammoth gleaming fermentation vessels to the bottling line.
Sink a cold pint of Cheeky Monkey’s multi-award winning XPA. (Image: Lewis French)
Play a game of pool, work your way through the pizza menu, and pick up a few takeaway tinnies before hitting the open road once again.
The brewery also has a sprawling, mother venue in Wilyabrup, known as the Caves Road Brewpub, that’s a fine spot to visit on a sunny day with 16 extravagantly crafted beers on tap.
Get out to the Cheeky Monkey mother venue in Wilyabrup too. (Image: Lewis French)
Wild Hop Brewing Company, Yallingup
Drive 20 kilometres further west from Cheeky Monkey and you’ll reach Wild Hop – a dreamy, tranquil retreat tucked away in the Yallingup hills, between the trees and next to a dam, that epitomises the term ‘boutique brewery’.
Soak up the boutique brewery vibes on the deck at Wild Hop Brewery.
A favourite haunt among in-the-know locals, this brewpub likes to keep things simple. There’s no ‘core range’ of beers on offer here. Just one beer – the Short Shorts Czech Pilsner – is a constant, while the other 10 taps are always rotating, featuring whatever has been dreamed up by the brewers and most recently batch brewed. The fact that Wild Hop doesn’t can or bottle their beers only adds to the draw (and exclusivity).
Wild Hop doesn’t can or bottle their beers; the brewpub is the only way to taste them.
There’s nothing pedestrian about the food menu here either. Forget your pub classics: the kitchen at this Margaret River brewery uses seasonal ingredients to piece together its ever-changing share plates menu, which is presided over by a wood-fired rotisserie oven. The juicy whole or half free range chook has become something of a house signature.
Dig in to some quality food at Wild Hop Brewery with your mates.
Black Brewing Co., Wilyabrup
Venture 10 minutes south of Wild Hop Brewing Company to get to this pub-style brewery-cum-restaurant, perched right on the lip of a lake.
The Black Brewing Co. is in a plum position by a lake.
A vast space that encompasses a beer garden freckled with trees, a deck that overlooks the water, and a pretty sizable dining room/beer hall strewn with string lights, Black Brewing Co. was made for casual get-togethers with friends and family.
Expect generous portions of dude food (pizzas, burgers, fish and chips) and a solid cast of beers that includes a saison bittered with local herbs, and a cider made with 100 per cent West Australian apples.
Expect generous portions of dude food to go along with its solid range of beers.
And on the off-chance that someone in your party isn’t fond of lagers, stouts or ales, there’s even gin paddles from sister label and in-house distillery Dune on offer.
Don’t forget to taste the in-house distillery Dune.
It’s only another 15 minutes’ drive from Black Brewing Co.’s HQ to the rural locality of Beerfarm. A local legend of a place, this sustainable Metricup brewery does exactly what it says on the tin, bringing together beer and a working farm in one location, with cattle, sheep, alpacas and chickens all resident on its 65 hectares.
The sustainable Beerfarm brewery is set on 65 hectares in Metricup.
A rustic joint, housed within an old dairy farm and hayshed that dates back to the early 1900s, Beerfarm has plenty of character as well as a growing number of beer industry accolades to its name.
The rustic interiors of Beerfarm.
There’s always eight core beers on tap here, alongside the brewery’s off-kilter special releases. Perhaps chief among Beerfarm’s more unconventional and alluring pours is its Native Series, which highlights indigenous ingredients through collabs with Indigenous organisations (think a quandong and samphire gose, and a wattleseed red ale).
Beyond the beers and ambience, punters here are guaranteed a good meal too. Burnt Ends Smoking Co heads up the kitchen, bringing some seriously moreish low-and-slow style barbecue to the Margaret River, using spent grain and grass-fed Angus beef sourced straight from the same farm.
Beerfarm combines great beers with great food. So come hunry.
Cowaramup Brewing Company, Cowaramup
Take the Bussell Highway and drive 10 minutes south to arrive at Cowaramup Brewing Company, a spacious brewpub with a scenic country backdrop. Parents, for one, will be thrilled to see that there’s a kid’s playground, while hopheads will relish the refreshingly simple six-strong line-up of craft beers.
The German-style Cowaramup Pilsener, with its crisp finish and moderate bitterness has become the house’s most popular drop, but there’s also a hefeweizen, a summer ale, a special pale ale, an IPA, and a chocolate porter to try. Sample them all with one of the house’s tasting paddles, or sign up for a brewery tour to see behind the scenes. It’s a plum spot for a pub lunch too, with tables spilling out onto the deck and manicured lawns.
For more insider tips and inspiration, see our ultimate travel guide to Margaret River.