Wildflower Amber is an Australian wild ale that evokes a sense of place. It possesses a solid malt bill and a complex yeast-forward character.
Wildflower Amber was released at the same time as Gold. Together these are Wildflower’s commercially available beers. The first blends were released in April 2017.
Wildflower also produce a Table beer but that’s only available at the cellar door in Marrickville.
Layered Yeast-Driven Character
As you’d expect, Amber pours a beautiful ruby-amber colour with a lively and frothy head of a creamy, dirty white.
Pouring slowly from the bottle, there’s an initial aroma that indicates a definite tartness. There’s a cutting sourness that hits you with a sharp sucker punch. This continues to swell up from the glass, drawing you in. The souring bacteria seem to have worked diligently on the beer in this blend.
One of the wonderful things about this beer is the waves with which it engages the senses. There’s a consistency in the drinking experience, as the layers of aroma are echoed on the palate as you drink.
Following the tartness there comes a dried grass funk. It’s brettanomyces but subtle. There’s no overt horsehair, wet blanket or barnyard aromas, just an homage to a farmhouse tradition.
There’s some very mellow tannic barrel character as you first lift the glass to your nose and then on the successive sips and quaffs. The woodiness works well with the straw-like funk and the light acidity. Wine drinkers will be familiar with this combination of flavours.
The final wave in this yeast-forward beer is a very subtle Chardonnay like smoothness. This last sensation only really makes itself evident once the beer has aired and crept to ambient temperature.
It’s likely that there’ll be a fair whack of yeasty goodness floating around the bottle. It means that unless you use a basket, you’ll get a nice cloudy end to the bottle.
The basket is the traditional way to serve this and the way Topher Boehm would have it served to you. The idea being that yeast sediment is caught in the heel of the bottle. However, if you get a cloudy splash from the end of the bottle, embrace it. It’s all delicious flavour.
The house yeast flavour profile that’s evident in Gold and Table is less obvious here, or at least it takes on a different complexity. There’s a greater acidity and more obvious layers.
These first Wildflower blends are a case study in the diversity of yeast-forward beers, where fermentation is the focus of the process.
Satisfying Malt Backbone
With all the yeast action going on, it’s easy for your attention to be drawn to the characteristic esters in Amber. But the importance of the name is that it contains a strong malt backbone.
Not only does this deliver an extra percentage of alcohol compared to Gold, but it contributes a beautiful colour and a delicate sweetness and spice. There’s also a satisfying body to the beer which perfectly hits a spot somewhere between your throat and your stomach.
This would pair nicely with game, lightly grilled or cured meats, or roasted seasonal vegetables. The amber malt would interact with the caramelisation of sugars in vegetables and the smokiness of the meat while the carbonation and acidity will gently lift fat and salt from the palate.
It needs to be acknowledged that there may be variations from bottle to bottle. That’s something you should embrace. This type of beer is alive and will evolve differently.
It’s a beautiful thing about beer and it’s fantastic that we’re able to get beers of such complexity right here in Sydney.
There’ll be future blends of this beer and they’ll vary greatly too. If you’re getting into the Wildflower journey at the start, you’re in a lucky position.
From: Marrickville, NSW
Beer style: Australian wile ale
Pair with: Lightly seared game meats with roasted seasonal vegetables
Have you tried Wildflower Amber? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts on the beer.