Kangaroos graze on wispy brown grass in the arid paddock next to Bush Shack Brewery, located deep in the bush of middle-of-nowhere Yallingup, Western Australia. We approach the shack from a long, rugged dirt road winding alongside the paddock, and from there this peculiar place looks vaguely menacing with its low, weathered corrugated-metal roof and its old playground, red and yellow and blue plastic shovels scattered here and there in an empty sandbox.
Loping trees with long branches surround the shack, and a near-empty claw crane, beaming an unsettling shade of Twin Peaks-red, shines the only illumination visible from the parking lot. A sign posted near the sandbox reads, “Beware! Falling Branches! And Bird Poo!!!,” and we wonder how we’ll be dismembered in this, our own personal Australian horror film.
Inside the shack, no gore or stacks of dead bodies. Folks of all ages huddle happily at long wooden tables, scores of baseball caps fastened to the wooden rafters above. There is, in the back of the place, a rounded pool table for which there are two house rules:
1 – The black ball must be sunk in the middle pocket to win the game
2 – $1 donation to jar for any ball that leaves the table!!
Owner Danial Wind bounds out from a small kitchen behind the brewery’s tap line to explain Bush Shack’s beer menu to a group of mystified twentysomethings. Some beers are brewed with their namesake ingredient, he says, such as the Avo-Lager, which incorporates 18kg of avocado flesh to help impart a creamy mouthfeel. The Chocolate Beer and others filed under the “Dark Brews” umbrella, he continues, only contain beer’s four primary ingredients.
Danial and Coralie Wind founded the place in 1997. The Winds picked the perfect location.