2021 South West Craft Beer Festival | Rocky Ridge in festive spirit

Rocky Ridge brewer Ash Gale, South West Craft Beer Festival event manager Jack Rogers and Rocky Ridge cellar door manager Liam Marsh.
Rocky Ridge brewer Ash Gale, South West Craft Beer Festival event manager Jack Rogers and Rocky Ridge cellar door manager Liam Marsh.

The South West Craft Beer Festival returns to Busselton on February 27, 2021 and Rocky Ridge have brewed up a red double IPA especially for the event.

Punters can expect a stronger beer with a "whole lot more red and a whole lot more IPA."

Rocky Ridge cellar door manager Liam Marsh said their head brewer Ross Terlick was famous for doing quality red ales and it had been quite a while since he had brewed one.

"He makes some incredible ones, we have not done one for a while so we are super excited to work with the festival guys," he said.

"We wanted to make a beer for the festival and that just happened to be the one the event organisers liked.

"It was fortuitous that we had not done one, not many people do them so it is kind of special in that way that it is a style that does not come around that often."

Mr Marsh said for the crew at Rocky Ridge, the South West Craft Beer Festival was the highlight of their calendar year because it gave them a chance to catch up with all the brewers in the region.

"The festival is right in our backyard and is the biggest one, it is kind of like a community one as far as the industry goes down here," he said.

"We are usually busy, heads-down working on our own bubbles."

This year marks the 10th anniversary for the event, which has grown alongside the popularity of craft beers and the emergence of more breweries in the region.

The first South West Craft Beer Festival in 2012 occurred as Australia was in the middle of a craft brewing revolution and the South West wasn't been left behind.

There were nine breweries operating in the Margaret Rive region (Cheeky Monkey was the tenth) and nearly as many again in surrounding areas.

Now in 2021 as the festival celebrates 10 years, there are approximately 15 independent breweries, making the region a beer lover's oasis.

Festival director Jason Dover said they were really excited to be able to put the event on this year because of COVID-19.

"So many things have changed with event management, it has certainly been a stressful time for our event organisers and all the planning that has gone into it," he said.

Mr Dover said punters could expect the event to be more intimate this year, similar to how it was in its early days.

"We have put in place two sessions," he said.

"It is the first time we will have a day and night session, which is a nice change and hopefully it opens it up to people who've had to work in the past on a Saturday, they can now come at night.

"With the numbers capped hopefully people will be able to get around to see more brewers and get a drink easier.

"Hopefully it will be a more intimate festival experience."

This story Rocky Ridge in festive spirit first appeared on Busselton-Dunsborough Mail.