Waratah is a collaboration between Ryefield Hops (Bemboka, NSW), Voyager Craft Malt (Riverina, NSW), Batch Brewing Co (Sydney, NSW) and us. Our release of the beer last year marked the first commercial release of a beer made entirely of NSW ingredients. The 2018 version now makes the second.
Waratah was brewed at Batch Brewing Company on 11 May 2018. Its grains were grown and malted in NSW by Voyager Craft Malt. In the boil we used Cascade and Fuggle hops grown and dried in Bemboka, NSW by Ryefield Hops. The wort was transferred to Wildflower where it underwent primary fermentation in stainless for 5 days.
The yeast we pitched was different than our usual house culture, which includes a strain native to Belgium. Instead, for Waratah we pitched a happy culture of yeasts that we had foraged from here in NSW. Since from when we started, we have kept the two cultures separate (the house culture and our native culture). The only beers we have made with this culture so far have been Waratah 2017, Foudre Beer #1 and Waratah 2018.
After primary fermentation, the beer was transferred into oak barrels where it aged for 12 weeks. We racked the beer out and dry-hopped it with more Cascade we had received from Ryefield. The hops steeped in the puncheon for another week before we packaged it on 16 August.
At release, it has aromas of fresh fruit & lemon meringue that combine with savoury biscuity notes. It has strong lemon citrus elements of lemon pith marmalade and a gentle toastiness. The palate is long and weighty palate which would suggest excellent ageing potential.
In many ways, Waratah epitomises our goals here at Wildflower. It is an agrarian beer, a product of the harvest conditions of each of the inputs. The recipe was built on what was grown here not on what we could order from international malthouses and hop fields.
It’s also a celebration of friendship, of the growth of an industry and the continuation of the good fight of buying, living and brewing local. Beer is a beverage made for social gatherings and to share with friends. It is not pretentious and coveted. We love beer's place in society and a beer like Waratah helps remind us that it is really just beer at the end of the day.
The base beer is brewed entirely with New South Wales cereals, hops and yeast: Single Origin (S.O.) Riverina grown Schooner barley and Janz S.O. raw wheat from Voyager Craft Malt. S.O. Cascade and Fuggle hops grown in Bemboka, NSW. Finally, it was fermented with our native culture of foraged wild yeast and naturally occurring souring bacteria native to New South Wales. It was bottled on August 16th 2018 and naturally conditioned through refermentation for 11 weeks. At bottling it was 5.0% ABV, 23 IBU and 1.5°P (FG= 1.006 SG).
Like all our beers, Waratah is best enjoyed when decanted off a settled natural yeast sediment at cellar temperatures (10-12°C).