Wildflower Spring 2022 Seasonal Ale will be available online and for tasting and take-away/collection at our cellar door from 12pm (Sydney time) on Friday 2 September 2022.
There is much to say about this one.
While Chris and I were in Belgium recently, we had a number of conversations surrounding beer styles and where they came from. We have always grappled with what to call our beers, where they 'fit' (if anywhere) and what terms were useful or not to describe what we are doing.
Our chats with Dany (Fantome), Daniel Thiriez and Yvan de Baets (Brasserie de la Senne) were particularly enlightening though where the discussions attempted to unpack when and how the word 'saison' really became a thing. I will leave it to the reader to make their own pilgrimage to these fine producers and deduce what one will from your own conversations. But, I will say for me, the perspectives of three brewers I have deep respect for ended up unlocking a world of flavour and varied ingredient use by not fearing or being restricted by the term 'saison'.
Instead of seeing that word as a stoic style, I have come to see the word as a literal translation, ie a seasonal beer made for or from a season. They are of a time and for a time, evolving as do we during each passing year and varied as the number of producers expressing their seasonality.
It sounds like a small movement, but it has been quite freeing to me. To be brewing for the complete joy of making something tasty, that's the only rule.
As a direct result, I started thinking of ways to incorporate these ideas into Wildflower and the flavours I most wished to express.
So, I've decided to really throw the stylistic rulebook (and some of my own too) out the window and make 4 beers per year named for each season that are made with joy as the primary focus. They will likely incorporate a variety of ingredients and be made with the intention to be consumed in the season they are brewed for.
Spring 2022 is the first of these seasonal ales and was brewed in mid-July using wholly certified organic, regenerative grains from Organically Greenwood and hopped entirely with whole-cone Fuggle and Victoria hops grown by Ryefield in Bemboka, NSW. At knockout, the hot wort was passed over Meyer lemon homegrown by Shane Roberts and finger limes grown by Currys Mountain Estate in Gerringong, NSW. It was then fermented with our house culture of microflora wholly foraged from native flowers in NSW. After primary fermentation, we blended the beer with the pith and juice of a significant volume of 'Yango Gold' Poormans oranges from legendary citrus growers Elsa Payne and Peter Dryden [Please note that the label says Poor Man's orange, but should have been written 'Poormans', I will amend for next year]. This is an unusual orange that is the product of a cross between a tangerine and pomelo, there is a great writeup about it here. We did add some other things and played with some other techniques but in the spirit of one of the people who influenced this beer, I'll just keep that to myself.
I was most keen to express the bitterness of the peel and pith in this beer and match it with the bitterness of the hop. At release, the beer has an incredible citrus nose, lemon, cumquat and grapefruit juice and zest to the fore. Savoury orange marmalade and hints of limoncello, blend with primary fermentation derived esters of jackfruit and clove. The palate has a citrus core showing the Poormans orange flesh and juice, light and clean, rippling across the palate with brightness and zip. Richer fruits play across the back palate but the citrus is the hero adding a clean pithy bitterness to the beer.
Spring Seasonal Ale is packaged in green 750ml bottles. I do apologise, there are about 200 brown 'Spring' bottles too, we ran out of green unexpectedly during the bottling day and had to act quick. Please see the product page for allocations and limits.
Like all our beers, Spring 2022 is best enjoyed when decanted off a settled natural yeast sediment at cellar temperatures (10-12°C).