We’re staying in Fremantle this week, one of my favourite places in our south west corner of the world and which we visited last week in our grand tour of the area (Our Adopted Home: Perth and SW Western Australia). The “Little Creatures” in question is not, however, a list of the creepy crawlies that visitors may expect to find in these parts of the world (it’s really not that bad!) but refers to a well known local Australian brewery of the same name. Little Creatures now has several branches throughout the country but started life in 2000 in the port of city of Fremantle. It has been one of our go-to places if we’re down that way for some time now and we visited again a couple of times recently with Mlle our daughter, over from the UK, and last month with my cousin, over from New Zealand. In all our visits I’ve never thought to enquire how the brewery got its name but with the wonders of google search and wikipedia I’ve found out that the original owners were inspired by a song lyric from the Talking Heads album, “Little Creatures” and refer to the live yeast cells that turn the sugars in malt wort into ethanol!
Situated in Mews Road between the Esplanade and Fremantle Boat Harbour, there is a distinct industrial feel with a maritime twist about the building. In fact it was one of the buildings that was used to house yachts competing in the 1987 Americas Cup (held in WA), then became a crocodile farm for a while (which we visited way back in 1990 when we first came to Perth). Now it comprises not only a working brewery but has a cafe and restaurant attached.
I am not a beer connoisseur so I can’t say too much on that front but the flagship beer is the original Little Creatures Pale Ale launched in 1990. All the guests we’ve taken there along with Monsieur Le Chic can vouch for the range and quality of the beers on offer! The back garden overlooks the boat harbour and is extremely popular – it also has a sandpit and play area for children. However since it was winter on our last visit and distinctly chilly we opted to sit indoors. The place was packed and the wait staff literally run off their feet so initially we took our drinks and went to sit in the upstairs area. However owing to the lunchtime rush (it was the July school holidays here) we couldn’t get table service upstairs so we had to wait for a free table in the downstairs area, which fortunately didn’t take too long. We were quite hungry by this point and ready to tuck into a feast! Their tasting plates are great to share and we got a selection of dishes to dip into including their tasty pizzas. The local Fremantle sardines were my favourite and you can get wine there too for the non-beer drinkers like me.
The chalkboard menus give you an idea of what’s on offer around lunchtime. They are open daily until late, which must mean the small hours as on Sundays they are only open until 11 pm!
The adjoining Brewhouse Bar is open for beer tastings and they also run brewery tours at 1 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm each day, You only need to book if you are in a group party of 10 or more – otherwise you just front up at the bar at the correct time!
Fremantle has an artistic vibe and Little Creatures reflects this with a selection of artwork on display, which is available for purchase. It was on the modern and avant garde side and not to my personal taste, but it fitted in very well with the style of the building.
There were a few delightfully kitsch touches including the iconic “kombi” van near the front entrance and the ATM machine disguised as an old fashioned red fridge!
In only 15 years, Little Creatures has become a local icon on the front at Fremantle. Don’t be put off by the crowds – they always seem to manage to seat you somehow and it is well worth a visit if you are ever down Freo way!
Copyright © 2015 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved