Matilda Bay and Little Creatures soon followed and helped upend the ‘blandwagon’ in The Golden West. Since then, new breweries have continued to pop up regularly, including the two featured today – Feral Brewing Company and The Monk Brewery.
Operating in the Swan Valley  since 2002, Feral (“undomesticated yet sophisticated”) produces a diverse range of quality brews in a myriad of styles. Their flagship beer (and certainly my favourite) is their multi-award winning Hop Hog IPA. However, it is one of their latest offerings which is now on tap at Malthouse. 
Feral Golden Ace (5.5%) is described by the brewery as a “a crisp dry golden Belgian style ale with a refreshing lemon hop character.” That lemon hop character comes from the Sorachi Ace hop varietal developed by the giant Japanese brewery Sapporo. Golden Ace is reportedly the first Australian beer to use this new variety and it really does add a tonne of character and flavour.
Ace pours a hazy gold, lemon and citrus dominate on the nose and in the body, with just a touch of yeasty funk to remind the drinker of its Belgian roots. Overall, it is dry, interesting and very quenching. The Belgian-ness of the beer is certainly subtle but the result is a beer which is very drinkable – not something all these hybrid-type beers can claim.
The Monk Brewery and Kitchen opened on the so-called ‘cappuccino strip’ in Fremantle  in 2007 with the first beer leaving the brewery in January 2008. The restaurant specialises in creatively using the house beers in most dishes – including sauces, bread, meat and dessert. Brewery wort, yeast and spent grains also regularly appear on the rather appetising looking menu. 
While the Golden Ace is a very new beer, The Monk Porter (4.6%) is a stalwart of their range. A silver medal winner at the Australian International Beer Awards 2011, it is an English-inspired porter with a smooth chocolate nose, touches of roasted coffee and milk chocolate, before a mild cleansing bitterness. It is very rare to see The Monk so far from home and it is well worth a try while stocks last.
Speaking of monks, the brewery that makes Monk’s Habit has one of their most popular beers now on tap at Malthouse.  Cock and Bull Fuggles (4.7%) was the Trophy Winner of the International Ale section of the New Zealand Beer Awards last year. It is generously hopped English-style ale with a firm malt body and some lively hopping, coupled with excellent drinkability. It also apparently appears in Metro magazine’s First XV of beers.
Speaking of First XV’s, this much better segue leads to the new television screens recently installed at Malthouse. These mean the bar can show every international rugby union game between now and, say, October 24 2011.
They certainly look very flat-screen and hi-tech – perfect for watching Scotland upset Argentina and England then deservedly thumping Georgia and Romania. Other matches featuring teams playing in black – notably New Zealand and occasionally England – will also be screened.
Finally, for those wanting to recreate the authentic beer experience at every international rugby venue around the nation at the moment, Amstel Light is now on tap.
 Swan Light is just lucky Yanjing Pineapple Lager exists otherwise it would be a strong contender for the worst beer I have ever tried.
 Though I did make a small dent in the stocks last night.
 Referred to as “Freo” in virtually even Australian publication.
 Though the menu does have to warn patrons not to eat the pea pods if they have the edamame.
 That segue was so awkward it could have been on The Crowd Goes Wild.
Real Beer New Zealand
Beer and Brewer Magazine
Feral Brewing Company – http://www.feralbrewing.com.au
The Monk Brewery – http://themonk.com.au/
Cock and Bull Brewery – http://www.cockandbull.co.nz/
The Crowd Goes Wild –
Malthouse on Twitter – http://twitter.com/malthouse
Malthouse Facebook Group – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wellington/Malthouse/7084276173
Real Beer – http://www.realbeer.co.nz
Beer and Brewer Magazine – http://www.beerandbrewer.com/