From ground to the glass

Trevor PaddenburgThe West Australian
Hamish Coates, founder and Brewer at Rocky Ridge Brewing Co., Jindong WA.
Camera IconHamish Coates, founder and Brewer at Rocky Ridge Brewing Co., Jindong WA. Credit: Paul Donegan

Forget the paddock-to-plate food movement — a South West brewer has become the first in the State to source everything he needs to produce amber ales from his family farm.

Rocky Ridge Brewing Company founder Hamish Coates is JUgrowing his own hops and barley, fertilised by manure from the farm dairy.

He captures yeast from the pure air on his property and harvests rainwater from his roof, stored in 250,000-litre tanks.

It means everything he needs to produce his own commercial beers comes from the 40ha1000-acre farm at Jindong, 18km south of Busselton, which has been operating as a beef and dairy property in his family for five generations.

His flagship Ironstone Pale Ale is named after the ironstone JUridge that runs through the property.

“We’re firm believers in slow-food principles — paddock to plate and ground to glass,” said the 27-year-old, who studied geology and physics before following his passion for brewing.

“We are on a mission — not to redefine craft, not to reinvent the wheel, but to prove that local and fresh is best.

“We grow everything on-site.”

Rocky Ridge beers became available last month, served on tap at six half a dozen venues in Perth venues and a few lar number in the South West at Busselton, Dunsborough and Margaret River.

By June, Mr Coates hopes cartons and six-packs — packaged in cans to better preserve the flavour and colour of the beer — will also be available at bottle shops.

Like the boom in farmers’ markets, the young entrepreneur said consumers also wanted beers that were made locally from local ingredients.

“There is a real movement to-wards locally owned, locally brewed and locally made,” Mr Coates said.

“I feel the same about everything we eat, so why not treat our beer the same way?

“We’re the only one in WA and one of a handful of brewers around the country and worldwide sourcing everything from their own farm.

“The regional variation JUthat we’re getting down here JUreally shines through,” he said.JU

“It’s been a logistical nightmare to be honest.

“We’ve had to work pretty hard to get to this point.

“You can’t just go out and buy something, you’ve got to plan for it and grow it and produce it JUyourself.

“I was told I couldn’t grow hops in this region because there was not enough hours of sunlight.

“Fast forward a year and our quarter-acre trial of 120 rhizomes has flourished.”

With his “brew dogs” Ace and Indy by his side, Mr Coates, a former brewer at Cheeky Monkey brewery in Margaret River, has been perfecting his beers for more than three years.

“You’re always learning and growing and challenging yourself though,” he said. “ I don’t think I’ll ever get to a point where I’ll stop trying to brew a better beer.”

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