Feral Brewing has released its first lager in many years, but you will have to be in Western Australia to try it.
Perth Local Lager has been brewed solely for the WA public in recognition of the strong support they have given Feral over the last 15 years, owner Brendan Varis told Australian Brews News.
“We’ve got a sales force all around the country, but disproportionately for our population, we sell heaps of beer in WA,” he said.
While Swan Lager and Emu Export may once have been considered WA’s own lagers, Varis said they have long been brewed interstate and owned by overseas interests.
“They don’t really make a huge contribution to the WA community or economy,” he said.
“This one’s being made by us, which is a locally owned company, that employs Western Australians to make it, distribute it and sell it.”
Varis said lager had been commoditised by the big breweries, which use a percentage of cane sugar as a barley substitute to reduce both cost and flavour.
“A traditional, well made lager requires long, slow fermentation and extended cold maturation, often taking weeks or months and is a product of 100 per cent malted barley,” he said.
As such, he said there is also an element of practicality in keeping distribution of this product limited to WA.
“We don’t have a plethora of spare stainless steel, to have beer sitting in it for six to eight weeks for a long cold maturation,” he said.
Varis said Perth Local Lager is similar to a pilsner, but non-traditional hops give it a very different flavour profile that could not be considered true to style.
“It uses Mandarina Bavaria as a single hop, rather than noble hop varieties,” he said.
First released in 2012, Mandarina Bavaria is a new German hop variety noteworthy for its citrus, specifically tangerine aroma and flavour.
“It’s the biggest contribution to hopping of our German IPA, Hopfen Fahrt,” said Varis.
Feral has experimented with lagers at its Swan Valley brewpub during 2016, which Varis said was simply about “re-understanding lager fermentation”, given the company hasn’t made a lager in seven or eight years.
Featuring the black and gold of WA, he said it was a conscious decision for Perth Local to contrast sharply in appearance to Feral’s other beers.
“It was appropriate to brand it a bit differently, rather than having the same look and feel as all the other beers and then everyone assumes they can just put an order in and get it,” he said.
Keen listeners to Radio Brews News will have heard Varis foreshadow the lager release during the Hottest 100 countdown in January.
He said it was partly inspired by a visit early in 2015 to London’s Camden Town Brewery, where he tasted through its range of lagers with then head brewer Alex Troncoso.
“Believe it or not, going through their lagers brought me back inspired to re-look at a lager,” Varis said.
“How good a really well-made lager can taste put a bit of fire in my belly, so I’ve come back and challenged the guys… watch this space for later in the year.
“It’s probably going to be quite a regionalised product as well, you won’t see it outside of WA ever,” he said.
Perth Local is on tap now at select venues around Perth with a wider draught release, 330ml bottles and 375ml cans – produced on Feral’s new packaging line – available from November.
Part of the proceeds from all Perth Local sales goes back into the West Australian Arts & Culture community, supporting local not-for-profit businesses RTRFM, FORM and PIAF.