By Ross Lewis, The Sip.
One of the old stagers of WA brewing has undergone a rejuvenation.
After 22 years in the beer caper the crew at Bootleg Brewery believed the brand needed a spruce up.
The changes followed the departure of former head brewer and more recently the leader of the front-of-house operation Michael Brookes, who has moved to his other passion, mountain bikes.
While Ryan Nilsson-Linne continues his reign as current head brewer, even after 10 years at the Margaret River groundbreaker, he believed a tweak here and there was required to give Bootleg a lift.
So new labels are on their way and a Gose, not part of the usual Bootleg fare, are on their way.
The Gose, in particular, should be a highlight at the South West Craft Beer Festival in Busselton on February 11.
“We wanted a change in a side of our marketing,” said Nilsson-Linne. “It is a move away from the loud and in your face labelling that we had. It is a bit classier, a bit upmarket.
“You can run the risk of being a bit tacky over time so we went back to our roots for a true Bootleg style label. We used some of old branding and gave it a modern twist.
“The craft beer world is every changing so we need to do it to every now and then.”
Nilsson-Linne admits he isn’t sure how the Gose will be once it has finished fermentation but his tastings so far have been encouraging.
The Gose will make its major appearance at the SWCBF but was likely to be bottled in the following months.
A Barley Wine resting in wine and whisky barrels should be available around April.
When Bootleg started in the mid-1990s it was, as the company line goes, an oasis of beer in a desert of wine within the Margaret River region.
Now it has Cowaramup, Cheeky Monkey, Black, Beer Farm, Eagle Bay, Margaret River Brewhouse, Colonial, Margaret River Ale Co in a short tourist’s drive.
Nilsson-Linne said Bootleg had felt the pinch but had responded with a revamped approach that had seen another turnaround in beer fortunes.
“When I started 10 years ago only four tanks now we have 13 with a few doubles. There has been a lot of beer between now and then,” he said.
“Our storage is six times larger. Coolrooms are bigger. Equipment recently upgraded.
“Now new labels so we have a fresh outlook.”
Bootleg also has a new brewer with former Gage Roads and Feral worker Dylan Hunter joining the team.
The brewery’s menu continues to feature Tom’s Amber Ale (4 percent), Speak Easy IPA (5.5 per cent), Raging Bull Porter (7.1 per cent), Prohibition Pils (4.9 per cent) and Summer Ale (4.7 per cent).