Beer grown and brewed in the WA Wheatbelt arrives at the Mukinbudin pub

Carefully strapped into booster seats in the backseat of a ute for transport to the Mukinbudin pub, these kegs contain not only locally brewed beer, but years of labor for Western Australian farmer Calvin Squire.

The 19-liter kegs contain Farmer’s Lager, a beer brewed by Mr Squire using a mix of barley and triticale grown on the Squire family’s farm in Dandanning, south of Mukinbudin, in the heart of WA’s Wheatbelt.

“I couldn’t get in there the night he got stuck. [at the pub]but I got some good Snapchats from my peers,” he said.

“They practically walked into the pub and said to the bartender, ‘We’re not leaving until we’ve finished the [current] barrel and we can get Farmer’s Lager.

After several years of developing beers and navigating government approvals to sell his beer, Squire said he hoped this would be the start of several Wheatbelt-grown and brewed beers.

A man, dressed in a green T-shirt, with a beer in his hand.
WA farmer Calvin Squire samples a drop from his nano-brewery.(ABC News: Chris Lewis)

“Over the last five years there have been times where I thought it wasn’t going to happen, so to cross that line is pretty special,” he said.

The beer is brewed in 60-litre batches and while Mr Squire said he was looking to increase his brewing capacity, the small boutique nature of his facility made it easier to experiment with different beer flavors and ingredients.

a beer in a glass in a bar
A freshly poured Farmer’s Lager at the Mukinbudin pub.(Supplied: Calvin Squire)

Champion local ingredients

Mr. Squire began brewing during his college days when he was studying winemaking, but his journey into commercial brewing began several years ago when he built a nano-brewery in a shed on his farm.

His beer used hops from Denmark and barley malted by Mortlock Malt near Goomalling, and Mr. Squire was passionate about developing local industries and raising awareness of where the product came from.

“You look at the amount of grain that is produced here, I scratch my head and think why are we exporting all that?

“Even if we kept the 1 percent and the added value on the farm, it would make a big difference in the way communities are structured.

“Commercial beers right now are brewed interstate and owned by Japanese corporations, some of their money goes to them. It’s better to spend money locally and keep it in a circular economy.”

Squire said he also hoped to build a date-only tasting room at his brewery in Dandanning.

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