Wildflower x Mike Bennie - Foudre Beer #2

Wildflower x Mike Bennie - Foudre Beer #2

Wildflower x Mike Bennie Foudre Beer #2 - Still and Sparkling will be available online and for tasting and take-away/collection at our cellar door from 12pm (AEST) on Friday 3 March 2023.

An ale made with drinks writer and friend, Mike Bennie. Brewed in July 2018, this ale rested in a single ex-Tyrrell's foudre for over 4 years. We have bottled the beer in both still and sparkling versions. The uncarbonated cuvee is wax dipped to distinguish.

Topher's production notes

I can't tell you how pleased I am to finally release this beer(s). If you have been with us from the beginning, you may remember there was actually a Foudre Beer #1... we released that in 2018 (here's a fun blast from the past). Mike has been a supporter of our project since before we started. In the nearly seven years since we first met, he's become more than that to our story and closer to home, a mentor, educator, sounding board... but more than those, a mate. When the Foudre beer project was born in 2017, I think I imagined it would be something to challenge my practice, to be driven by someone with different influences. But here, so many years later, I am so much more fulfilled to say this project is personal... this beer is a manifestation of our friendship. Its release is less about the technique to me at this moment... and far more about what it means to me.

Its release has been long in the making, spending over four years ageing in a single barrel, due to our decision in 2018 to attempt a non-human-inoculated fermentation, ie a lambic-practice-inspired and that fermentation throwing all the expected curveballs which only time can heal. To Mike's absolute credit, he never once questioned my desire to keep holding onto it and letting it get to where I thought it might end up.

The proof is in the pudding, as they say, and in Foudre Beer #2 we have an incredibly vinous beer with silky texture unlike anything we have released before. So fascinating were the barrel samples, we bottled a portion of this beer without dosage to give you an idea and the opportunity to compare what carbonation does to a drink of this age.

To the technicals, the beer was brewed with NSW grown Schooner barley and raw wheat (this was about 1 year before any organic barley for malting was even grown in Australia). Hopped with fresh Motueka and Saaz, we decidedly did not go down the aged hop route in an effort to highlight the fermentation pathways instead of the strong, potentially overbearing characteristics of aged hops. The wort was transported, carefully, to Wildflower very hot... I'm talking north of 90C, where we assembled a variety of sanitary open-top vessels to let the wort chill overnight and drop to fermentation temperatures. The next day, the wort was transferred into that single Foudre and remained, ageing, for four years. The sparkling portion was krausened into life by using wort from our next edition of this beer, Foudre Beer #3, which was scheduled to be brewed a day before #2 was bottled to attempt this practice.

Luke's tasting notes

Sparkling: Citrus the hero, lemon and lime jump from the glass on the nose. There’s dusty brown spice touched by funk. Oak still plays its part giving woodiness and depth. Surprisingly more savoury than the Still. Whilst the citrus core remains, dried stone fruits sit nicely with the oak. Textually there’s breadth and volume but it’s laden with vinous oak spice and vanilla. Aged citrus and apple skin on the finish.

Still: Lemon cordial, lime and orange marmalade, peach tea. Engaging nose full of fruits and savoury counterpoints. Sweet vanilla oak and lots of it. An ephemeral palate. Fleeting but intense whilst it’s there. Big lime notes, sweet stone fruit and a strong oak presence. Zippy fruit tingle acidity and a fruit tea tannin brings the palate to a close.

And like all our beers, Foudre Beer #2 is best enjoyed when decanted off a settled natural yeast sediment at cellar temperatures (10-12°C).

Enjoy.

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