Wildflower Waratah is widely considered to be the first commercially available beer made from all New South Wales ingredients.
Voyager have previously collaborated with Batch Brewing, where Boehm makes the wort for his beers. The combination of parties fitted together perfectly, with each having genuine input into the final product.
In terms of the hops used, Fuggles and Cascade are two that Ryefield is growing in Bemboka and that feature in Waratah. These lend a rounded, green earthiness and herbal qualities to the beer, which are complimented by precise citrus notes.
Part of the Wildflower philosophy is to capture and evoke a sense of place in their beers. Nowhere is that more evident than in Waratah.
Even the yeast is local to New South Wales, captured by Boehm during his foraging. The beauty of this culture is that it contains sacchoramyces, a traditional brewer’s yeast, but in this case found in the wild.
It means that this wild ale doesn’t have the overt or aggressive sourness you can perceive in some wild beers. It’s the first time Wildflower have released a beer using only the native culture (as opposed to the house culture which contains the Dupont strain).
On the nose there’s a melon aroma that swells and grows as the beer warms in your hand. This overlays peach, dewy morning grass, dried herbs, and lemongrass.
The earthy quality comes through both on the nose and the palate. It provides a deep bass line which is comforting throughout the experience of drinking the beer. Sharper lemon flavours are there too but tempered by a funk that’s quite subtle in comparison to other Wildflower beers. This funk presents itself through dried grass notes that are consistent between nose and tastebuds.
There’s also a cereal quality to this beer. Within the orange-gold liquid there’s a grainy flavour that provides another degree of warming familiarity. This comes from the single origin Schooner barley and Janz raw wheat from the Riverina.
There are similarities with other Wildflower beers thanks to the yeast character. What’s possibly more intriguing though is the difference. It makes for an interesting side by side comparison with Gold and Amber.
There are some components of the yeast character which appear consistent across the beers but there are differences, white spaces, or pauses in the overall conversation between yeast, liquid and drinker.
As with all Wildflower beers, it’s sure to evolve in interesting ways but it’s worth noting that Waratah is dry hopped. This helps to showcase the local hops. To capture the full aroma and flavour it’s advisable to drink the beer fresh.
We may see iterations of this beer in future in time with hop harvests.
From: Marrickville, NSW
Beer style: Australian Wild Ale
Hops: Cascade (NSW), Fuggles (NSW)
Malts: Schooner, Janz wheat
Pair with: Garden vegetable terrine
Have you tried Wildflower Waratah? Were you there for the launch during Sydney Beer Week 2017? Leave a comment and share your experience.