Something’s brewing at the State Library 

The State Library’s new exhibition Liquid Gold: A Taste of WA Brewing History explores WA’s rough and tumble relationship with beer and brewing. From pre-colonial fermentation and early homebrews to the mighty Swan Brewery taking on the world, the exhibition charts entrepreneurialism, activism, bitter rivalries and social change.

Liquid Gold showcases documents, photographs and stories from the State Library’s vast collections – including what is likely the earliest written beer recipe – alongside advertising material and recorded interviews which reveal how brewing helped shape WA’s economic and cultural identity. 

The State Library is pleased to debut ten new oral histories as part of the exhibition, which document the evolution of WA craft brewing from the 1980s to today. The interviews – which have been added to the State Library’s collection – feature leading industry figures like Howard Cearns of Little Creatures fame and John Stallwood of Nail Brewing, as well as a snapshot of the new wave of WA’s independent brewers.

To celebrate the exhibition and bring WA’s brewing history to life in a can, the State Library has partnered with Otherside Brewing Co. to develop a limited edition heritage beer. Drawing on early beer recipes, photography and stories in the collection, Otherside head brewer Rhys Lopez created the ‘Gilded Ale’, a contemporary interpretation of recipes from as early as 1913.  

The exhibition and the beer will be launched at a free opening event and panel conversation at the State Library on Saturday February 17 at 6pm.

Hear from a panel of industry insiders and innovators in conversation about the rise of WA’s most famous brewing brands and dive into the next industry trends.

The line-up:

  • Phil Sexton, legendary brewer behind Australia’s first micro-brewery Matilda Bay Brewing Company and co-founder Little Creatures 
  • Mick Little, co-founder of Spinifex, a part Aboriginal and veteran-owned WA brewery
  • Michael Payne, of Lighting Minds non-alcoholic beer
  • Mark Braddock, co-founder Block Branding and the designer behind some of WA’s most iconic brands including Feral Brewing Company
  • Pia Poynton, of Otherside Brewing Co. and certified beer expert and judge
  • Julian Tompkin, author, cultural journalist and academic, and our moderator for the evening.

Opening event and panel conversation: February 17 at 6pm | State Library of Western Australia | Free event, drinks available to purchase | Bookings at 

Exhibition: February 17 – June 2 | Ground Floor, State Library of Western Australia | FREE