Australia's North West is home to some of the greatest natural habitats of the world. From Kakadu to the Kimberleys it's an absolute haven for eco tourism. Western Australias tourist mecca Broome is the gateway to this area, but it also contains it's own little gems, including one of the most highly regarded, and most isolated breweries in Australia.
Matso's Brewery is situated on Hamersley street, just back from Broomes idyllic Roebuck bay. The first thing you'll notice about the place is that it fits in absolutely perfectly with the Broome atmosphere and surroundings.
The building itself is a casual yet elegant wooden shack style structure with sweeping verandahs and a very large outdoors area - perfect for soaking up that fantastic Broome weather. Palm and Coconut trees cover much of the brewery from the outside world giving a very nice laid back feel to the place. There is no flashy glass or polished marble showpieces here, just natural, simple serenity.
You are allowed in with thongs too! Furthering the relaxed nature of Broome are the fantastically laid back staff and patrons. There's no $100 haircuts, fancy dress or posh conversations to be heard, just the good ol' light banter that is often lost in big city watering holes. It's a place where you can very easily just sit down at a strangers table and be best mates within five minutes.
Lets not forget why you come here though - the beer. Matso's is well renowned throughout Australia for its Mango and Ginger beers. Whilst not my taste, ask anyone whose tried them and you'll get a fantastic response. They also have a range of refreshing Aussie brews, and a few seasonal specialties as highlighted below. Recently they have gone into the business of cider too!
So, their beers (that I like): Pearlers Pale Ale: My favourite, delicate fruity flavour, full malt brew with a very refreshing finish - perfect for the warm winter days. Hit the Toad Lager: A crisp and citrusy Pilsener, 10c of every one sold goes directly to stopping the Cane Toad in WA. Smokey Bishop: A dark hoppy lager with mild chocolate notes. A great stepping stone to full blown stouts. Divers Porter: A rich yet delicate brew with a slight bitterness on the palate. Lychee Beer: A seasonal beer. Not as sweet as Mango or Ginger beer, a very nice session beer for Broomes warm winter. Chilli Beer: bloody hot! I recommend (through experience) to not drink this with the Blue Swimmer Crab Linguini (which is also hot... and very good).
Pealers Pale - perfect for a hot winters day near Broome
All of their beers are tailored to drink in their climate - meaning even the darker varieties are quite refreshing. The food is no slouch either. It was great to see that the big breakfast was properly big, a welcome change from most Perth cafes. For lunch every day i had the steak sandwich which - in my mind - is the second best steak sandwich I've tried (behind the no longer made Bootleg Burger).
Dinner was fantastic, and delightfully casual as well. I'm so sick of seeing even the most basic cafe or pub try to make their dinner settings formal. The waiters are prompt and friendly, you don't have to stare them down to draw them over. And the food was as good as the rest. Unfortunately their famous curry hut wasn't running while we were there, though I hear it comes in very high regards.
The one drawback to Matso's is the same drawback as everywhere else in WA - the price. the beers are $8 for 390mL and the average price of mains is around $30. At least the price does come with exceptional quality and service (and I guess running business out in Broome can be tough), more than we can say for all the Woolies and Coles owned pubs back in Perth.
Matso's also host many local, national and international live music acts as well as weekly, annual and one off events. Details for all of this can be found on their website or Facebook page. Finally, they also sell their beer all over WA and the rest of Australia. Matso's stockists and tap beer details can be found here.
So next time you decide to explore our amazing North West, why not give Matso's a visit. If great food, great beer, great views and a very friendly and relaxed atmosphere are your cup of tea, you'll struggle to find a reason to leave!