We are very excited to announce that Wildflower Organic Table Beer (Batch #1) will be available online and for take-away/collection from 12pm (Sydney time) on Friday 4 September 2020.
The release of this beer marks a number of 'firsts' for us. For the first time in our brief history, we have packaged a beer in cans. Also, it's the first time we are releasing our beloved Table Beer to be available outside our cellar door and on top of all that, this is the first certified organic beer we will release. Each of these things warrants an explanation and I'll deal with them in reverse.
In some ways this is a no brainer, while in others it may be a bit of a surprise. To the former, it is no secret that we have been working with Voyager Craft Malt and Organically Greenwood in bringing an organic malted barley to the market. The seeds of this beer were planted in April 2019 when Schooner barley was sown on Chris and Sam Greenwood's land in Coleambally, NSW. At the time and still to this day, this was the only organic barley bound for malting in the country. Chris and Sam's farm is certified organic, however their principles and approach go beyond not using systemic herbicides and pesticides. They are regenerative, with systems and processes that improve the life in their soil and thus their produce. I was keen on organics for our beer before, but after meeting them... I realised I knew very little and committed myself to learning more. From the time it was sown to the time it was harvested my understanding came a long way and I began, as many people do, starting to wondering what a world would look like without intensive conventional broad-acre agriculture we have become used to and even more accustomed to paying for. You see, the beer industry distribution chain is just as broken as the larger food industry. Access, freshness and traceability of malt have been pushed aside, scaled out of reasonability and hidden from the consumer, just as they have in food. After meeting Chris and Sam... and even more so committing to using their crop, I started to think about what this word 'organic' meant. When we see it used in marketing a product we actually have very little understanding as to what the producer actually means. The labelling laws here in Australia are super slack on this and allow for the word to be used without any checks. So it got me thinking that if I was going to be using the word organic to describe a beer that was made from organic agricultural inputs (hops, malt and yeast) then I should probably back up what I'm saying. Enter Southern Cross Certifiers, a newer Queensland base organic certifier founded by tenured industry professionals out of a desire to regain a sense of normalcy and equity in price and access for organic certification. They are the same ones that both the Greenwoods and Voyager use and are largely more grower-focused rather than processor/product like ACO. So while their mark is less known, they certify to the same national standards. I spoke to this group about the certification process for us as a brewery and realised that really all the hard work was done for us by our suppliers, the Greenwoods and Voyager, who grew and malted the barley to organic standards. It was relatively easy for us to demonstrate our inputs were organic and thus certification was really not a huge burden. So Chris and I decided to go ahead with it, in one way to continue the story that starts on the Greenwood's paddock and in another to exemplify to anyone who does not know us that we are open to audit... the beer inside is what it says it is on the outside of the can.
This is one of our first three beers. In fact for about a year after we opened, we only made/served Gold, Amber and Table Beer. All that time up until this release, our Table Beer has only been available from and at our cellar door. Its a special beer to me, one made in homage to beers like Orval Vert, Jester King Petite Prince and Brasserie Thiriez La Petite Princesse... all beers that mean a great deal to me. I think in some way I was trying to protect it by keeping it close. I mean, the market doesn't exactly jump up and down to purchase a super low alcohol beer... and this is probably exacerbated even more now as it lacks excess sugar, hops, oats, pastries and ABV that so many beer drinkers have convinced themselves they like. So maybe its folly to do now... but over lockdown I really wanted to drink this beer, I really wanted a super low alcohol option and I've come to learn that I wasn't alone in these desires so I thought about opening up a little.
At the same time as all of the above, a mobile canning company agreed to work with us meaning that we could package this beer safely and efficiently into a lower cost packaging format which would in my opinion bring the value of Table Beer in line with the cost of it. I have a firm belief that beer should be accessible and affordable. We have a very small team here that works hard looking after every aspect of Wildflower... there's no fat and it helps us keep our beer at a reasonable price. Beer is egalitarian. Over the past few years as well, its become more and more obvious to me that cans are genuinely a good vessel for drinking beers. If cans were around at that time in history, there is no doubt to me that the noble Saison we love to wax about made for field workers would have been packaged in them. So putting these beers to can for me has nothing to do with a breaking-down of my dogma because that's whats happening around us. Instead, its all about delivering a beer we love at an affordable price in a vessel that makes sense. We tested with and now were able to successfully condition our beer in can, meaning this Table Beer is exactly the same as it would have been from the bottle. I'm very proud to do this for Table Beer and while we also put Tom into can on the same day... I'll say now we aren't planning on making it a 'thing' outside low ABV table beers. If the beer goes to oak, for now I can firmly say it won't be in can.
Lovely nose. Creamy grains, hoppy spice and a touch of tang, reminiscent of a spray of citrus zest. Full and hoppy palate. Mild acidity draws the palate out whilst adding pops of bright citrus. Firm clean bitterness, moreish and refreshing on the finish.
2.9% ABV, 440ml cans, 1 standard drink
Malt: Certified Organic Schooner barley and malted red wheat from Coleambally, NSW.
Hops: Certified Organic Motueka Nelson, NZ.
There are 850 x 4 packs of 440ml cans of Organic Table Beer which will be split between our online shop, cellar door and lovely wholesale accounts across Australia.