Wild yeast finds a home in Marrickville
The latest addition to the beer scene in Sydney’s inner west is Wildflower Blending & Brewing, which will be making beers exclusively with native New South Wales yeasts.
Wildflower has been founded by Topher Boehm, who moved from Texas, USA, Australia in 2009.
He studied physics only to develop a passion for brewing, which he pursued professionally at Flat Rock Brew Cafe and Batch Brewing Co in Sydney.
“At each of these breweries I further honed my process and technique for better, more consistent results; however, somewhere along the way I fell deeper and deeper into going back to the start in order to make my beer. The origin of my water, my malt, my hops but mostly my yeast,” he wrote in a recent blog post.
“When I started to make wild ales with native New South Wales yeasts in 2014, my early beers were unlike anything I had ever tasted. At that point, I had tried a fair share of beers made with wild yeasts from other parts of the world and these were admittedly similar; however, there were elements entirely new to my palette, things I had never smelled or tasted in any beer to date.”
Boehm spent an extended period in Northern France and Belgium during 2015, taking an internship at Brasserie Thiriez in Esquelbecq, France.
“From there I was lucky enough to visit and spend time with a whole number of influential producers across Wallonia,” he says.
Following years of small scale trial brews using wild yeast captured in his travels throughout regional NSW, Boehm settled on a favoured strain that will be the foundation of his beers at Wildflower Brewing and Blending.
Gold, Amber and table
Currently he makes his wort off-site at Batch and transports it to Wildflower’s own Marrickville premises where it undergoes fermentation and maturation in neutral French oak sourced from Orange wineries including De Salis, Canobolas-Smith and Ross Hill.
He will then blend his array of ferments to arrive at three beers simply named Gold and Amber and a table beer, which currently has the working name House Wild Ale.
All are stylistically influenced by French and Belgian farmhouse ale styles, but Boehm shies away from calling his own beers ‘farmhouse’.
“I view farmhouse as a method of production, not a style. Farmhouse beers are brewed on farms,” he told Australian Brews News.
The Gold and Amber respectively are an homage to Saison and Biere de Garde, while the table beer is a low alcohol product that will not go into oak.
“It is loosely a grisette. It’s three per cent ABV and very bitter, 35 IBUs, so it’s nice and refreshing, and very well carbonated,” he said.
All beers will be sold only in bottles, which Boehm will be pouring into beautiful custom glassware for visitors at Wildflower’s rustic cellar door, a former metal foundry that features stools he has fashioned himself from barrel staves.
Otherwise he plans to wholesale his beers to bottleshops and restaurants, where he hopes their food friendly attributes will find favour with sommeliers.
Wildflower Brewing and Blending will be open on Saturdays, starting sometime in April. Keep an eye on its website for the launch date.