750ml dark green bottle purchased as part of the Wildflower Collective 2019.
Pours a deep, dense, opaque cherry red-black colour, with a faintly purplish-white head the persists as a very fine ring. Carbonation is powdery and fine, forming long lines of straight carbonation when tilted. Lacing forms in small circular specks. Looks good.
Nose has a strong cherry character, with a mild astringency to it as well—it's a kind of tight, plasticky sourness that almost gives characters of acetone and kitty litter. These are not necessarily bad things, they just speak of an intensity to the flavour. As it warms, there's a slight peppery note, hints of very old, oxidised red wine, and a kind of mossy dankness.
Taste is similar in a lot of ways, but it actually pares back the astringency a good deal. It still has heavy cherry characters to it, including a medicinal bit towards the back. But there's warmer, softer tones to the palate. It get musty suitcases, cinnamon and brown sugar, crumbling sandstone and halva. The astringency is still there, giving that slight overtone of something plastic and artificial, but it's mostly ephemeral, and it mostly due to the aroma sticking around.
Feel is soft and delicately carbonated.
Overall, this isn't one of Wildflower's best, and they know it. The Collective notes with this note that it is "the result of making use of a huge crop which otherwise would have gone to waste. It is not something we are likely to repeat or something we feel is hugely indicative of our ethos". So I pass on the caveat here.
74 / 100
750ml dark olive bottle, purchased as part of the Wildflower Collective. This is an Australian Wild Ale with NSW strawberry gum, which is an aromatic variety of eucalyptus.
Pours a slightly hazed golden colour; certainly more hazy than the regular Gold. It forms a small ring of bubbles on the pour, but within five minutes this is mostly gone, leaving the beer itself quite still. Body is light and fluid. Minimal carbonation to begin with, but very still by the end.
Nose is very interesting. The strawberry gum is prominent on the nose, giving sweet bush aromatics, with notes of strawberry bubblegum mixed with the crackle of dry undergrowth on a hot summer day. There's an interesting interplay between the herb and the wild ale, which gives a slight tartness, mingling with vanilla and clove. It's honestly a very clever combination.
Taste isn't quite as good, and it comes in waves. The olida is strong on the front, giving a pronounced leafy strawberry and rosemary note, but this clings to the acidity providing a measure of astringency on the mid-palate. This glides softly into a pleasant ephemeral smoke character, like a bushfire on the other side of town. The back is slightly vegetal though—the herb leaves a little too much vegetative character, and disconnects from the acidity. The finish is slightly floury—a character I do sometimes find in some bottles of WF.
Feel is pleasant—slick, but cut with acid.
It's still a very nice beer, and it's a really interesting expression of what they're trying to do, especially with providence of their ingredients. I can imagine this is just the first step in experimenting with indigenous herbs and spices (and, no doubt, fruits). And it is an auspicious step, if not the final destination—I can imagine it gets better.
84 / 100
750ml dark green bottle purchased as part of the Wildflower Collective 2018. This is a blend aged on NSW white peaches. Packaged 4 April 2018. Shared with Sam during a brewday.
Pours a bright, pale golden colour, with a firm ring of just-off-white bubbles that leave long, craggy streaks of lace. Carbonation is very fine, but restrained, forming languid streams when the glass is tilted. Looks good.
Nose is quite pleasant. There's a really nice stonefruit character that's noticeable right from the start, with a little plasticky tartness. It does have a slight yeast undertone, which adds an earthy character—something that I've noticed as something of a trademark in Wildflower's beers. Otherwise, there's a fair amount of vinous acidity and a cut-grass greenness that lifts everything.
Taste is probably better. Here, the peaches are quite prominent, and provide the main structure of the palate. There's acid characters around this, giving light tartness—something like young sauvignon blanc. It has a twang of plasticky lambic-like characters in the back, but it's smoothed out nicely, with characters of tart peach and cranberry continuing the acidity while dampening the sharpness.
Feel is dry and tart, with a smacking crispness on the back.
A lovely brew, and this shows Wildflower really finding their rhythm with what they're trying to do. This is a lovely, well thought-out beer, and the fruit addition is judicious and appropriate. Very nice stuff.
82 / 100
Bottle obtained by Jez as part of his collective subscription, generously shared with me at Mother's.
Pours a pale gold colour, mild haze. Head white and bubbly when poured but dissipates to a thin film with steady bead. Not much to look at, really, but fine. Champagney.
Smells funky and earthy. Big spicy character with coriander and lemongrass blending with a nice tart edge. Vinegar and rich vinous character, slight dry champagne note. Touch of berries late. Weird earthy coriander note sometimes too. Pretty nice, smooth.
Taste is very nice indeed. Big complex fruity character upfront, with a rich vinous note plus tart characters of lemon, lime and blackberry. Gets a big swell of funk midway giving rich vinegary character and some earthiness. The tartness lingers to the back giving a nice fresh, acidic finish. Slight textile character late similar to leather, but mostly the acidity covers it well. Very pleasant.
Mouthfeel is smooth, oddly meaty and substantial, with a nice drying sensation. Absolutely superb fir the style; great body.
It drinks beautifully; dry and tart and richly complex but that body is miraculous. So smooth; it really is growing on me a lot.
77 / 100
750ml bottle received as part of my Wildflower Collective membership. This is a referment of a particular barrel of Gold with Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Shared with Sam.
Pours a slightly hazed, slightly peachy golden colour, with an initially loose white head that fizzles out to a very minor ring. Body is light and slick, moving swiftly around the glass when swirled. Some fine streams of carbonation. Looks decent.
Nose is quite pleasant, and not dissimilar to the base Gold. Some sharp grape must notes, but driven more by the stonefruit characters in the base. Slight earthiness—dusty and a little bit floury. Some sharper notes of honeydew and green lemon as well. Very pleasant.
Taste is quite nice. It has a persistent tartness through the centre of the palate, with a slight plasticky flatness that grates towards the back. More stonefruit, and semi-sweet, semi-tart citrus. In the finish, we finally get the distinct vinous notes of the sauvignon blanc, which have a greenness of underripe fruit, and an almost champagne dryness. It's a really pleasant feel. Nice bite of acid, but a lovely dryness and pucker on the finish.
Yeah, this is nice. The grapes give a nice twist on the Gold, which I admit is my particular favourite of their base range. I suspect this might even balance it out in a way that improves it.
85 / 100
750ml dark green bottle: the first release as part of the Collective, got as part of the first shipment. Shared with Loz.
Pours a slightly hazed bright golden colour, probably about the identically same hue as the Gold, given that's what it's based off. Head is a very fine ring of pure white that sits as an almost creamy suggestion around the rim. Looks good.
Nose is very pleasant indeed. It has a lovely undertone of sweet apricot stonefruit, which provides the bass note of the beer. Above this is a slight plasticky acidity, which provides sharpness and bite. It's slightly coppery, with aromas of crushed mineral salt and smouldering magnesium.
Taste has a really nice acidity on the front. It's not puckeringly sour, but it has a beautiful structure to it. The mid palate brings the fruit, with a lovely overripe apricot character giving a stewed sweetness through the centre. The finish is dry—more mineral salt characters with some solder-smoke bite, and a tight, controlled acidity that never overwhelms the palate. It's more the demi-sec pucker you get from a good champagne. I like it a lot.
Feel is lovely. Light, but tightened with a well-controlled acidity.
This is honestly pretty amazing. It has all of the loveliness of the Gold, with a sweetness through the centre of the palate that supports it in a way that feels missing in the base beer. And the base beer is a pretty amazing beer.
76 / 100
Sauvignon Blanc Referment Wild Saison. Tried on-tap at Bitter Phew during Zwanze Day 2017.
Pours a pale peach orange colour, very hazy and elusive. Head is a fine ring, leaving lots of tiny specks of lace. Long fine beads of carbonation. Fine body too. It looks very good.
Nose is mostly okay, but it has a meaty, bodily character to it, with some mushroom mould and earth. Otherwise, there's subtle soft fruit, grape must and some pepper. It's aromatic, but sometimes in not quite the right way.
Taste is sweet and tart on entry, with peach and botrytis. Slight earthy cling on the back, turning meaty. Hmm. Cleans up after a while, but the yeasty aftertaste sticks around. Peppery finish, with nice cushioned tartness. Once the organic notes and the clinging yeast clear up, it's a lovely brew.
Feel is mild and crisp. Works very nicely.
Overall, it's undeniable that it has some (minor) flaws. But they're flaws on a beer that's extremely well conceived, and that has it in it to be truly excellent.
75 / 100
On tap at Zwanze Day 2017 at Bitter Phew.
Pours a burnished orange tinged golden colour, without much head. Just a razor-thin rim of lace when tilted. Pretty much expected; nothing really special here.
Smells fruity, with just a hint of barnyard at the back of it. Distinct oaky notes with mostly vinous character but a hint of vanilla as well. Lemon, grapefruit and yes maybe gooseberry as well, fine. Quite subtle, but what's there is nice.
Taste is definitely something else and it's quite beautiful. Wonderful tart, wild complexities but with an alarmingly soft sweetness to it as well. Vinous oaky notes, developing some berry and peach towards the mid, a noticeable banana sweetness late-mid with a touch of paw-paw. Finishes tart, with green apple and grapefruit sour notes and a big Bretty bitterness. Pretty damn good.
A bit bitey, crackly in the mouth with some really sharp stabs of acidity. Expected but fairly untamed nonetheless.
A very good blend for tasting. Not as immediately seductive as Wildflower's other drops, but a nicely tempered maelstrom of conplexity overall.
73 / 100
Bottle ordered direct from the brewery probably the day it went on sale. Tried at home by myself.
Pours a gold colour, quite pale and quite cloudy but a little thin like it isn't holding its colour consistently to the edge. Head is white, thick and foamy that sinks to a thin crown, with nice lace. Looks pretty good.
Smells tart, funky. Distinct saisony character, just that organic barnyard funk with a slight grassiness. Lovely tartness at the back though, with lemon and tangerine, plus a touch of berry and hibiscus adding a sweeter, softer tartness. Yeah, lovely is the word. Just lovely.
Taste is funky too, more funky than tart. Slight citric note on the very front but then develops big funky barnyard notes; lucerne and a slight medicinal and rubbery edge. Finish is strangely sweet, with some vanilla and caramel character together with a lingering funky acidity that gives a slight oaky note along with some mild citrus. Slightly phenolic overall and a bit biscuity as it lingers. Tasty, but I don't feel it really draws out all the complexities in the blend.
Distinct pull to it; body is alright with good malt padding but not perfect, as there's a definite pucker on there as well.
When everyone else seemed to prefer the gold to the amber and I loved the amber so much, I thought I may join everyone else and this would blow my mind. But yeah I just am an iconoclast, and while this is very good I do prefer the amber.
76 / 100
750ml dark green bottle purchased direct from the brewery.
Pours a rather clear golden colour, with a frothy, pleasant head of white that settles out to a persistent ring. Carbonation is quite mild after the initial bust, but forms in slow streams when tilted. No lacing. Looks decent.
Nose is lovely. Nice soft oak, with a vinous quality like chardonnay. There's a hint of acidity to it, but it's not the main event. Mostly, it's based around the oak, buttery and smooth, but with aromatic, organic tones. There's also a faint earthiness, possibly due to the yeast, and maybe a hint of phenols which add a slight chemical character.
Taste is also pretty good. In the front, it's very soft—a slight champagne acidity, and a muted oak character that mostly just gives flat wood. Towards the back, there's a bit of gritty yeast, but a fine, tight acidity mostly covers it. Finish is lingering, with a slight mineral character that isn't unpleasant.
Feel is light and crisp, which works well.
It's good, again. I think it's not as complex as the first blend, but it's well-integrated this time, and the softness helps create some consistency.
82 / 100
Bottle purchased from Wildflower direct online. Enjoyed by myself, because fuck you I can enjoy a 750mL bottle of beer by myself if I like. You're not my Mum. Except you probably are, because who else would read these reviews? Sorry Mum, I withdraw my 'fuck you' comment.
Pours a good rich amber colour, slightly cloudy with off-white head, fluffy and dense and retaining really nicely. Head is clingy and thick. Looks beautiful, kind of expected a bit darker but yeah. Nice.
Smells tart and oaky and wild. Big corporeal whack when I first poured, that evolves into barnyard and dry grassy notes. Big champagne whiff as well, with some crisp green apple and lemon zest. Touch of wood on the back as well. Maybe lacking a kind of body, it smells all acid and cut and doesn't have the grounding behind it. Still an impressive blend.
Taste is lovely. Similar to the nose in the character, but it's much softer than the nose made out. Wild barnyard notes upfront that grow and swell in complexity to the middle where it gets tart, with some distinct oaky notes that gets a bit vinous, some chardonnay on there with a slight gooseberry hint as well. Buttery towards the back, but lingering with a zesty fruit character and a hint of grass and undergrowth. Wonderful.
Distinct pull and pucker from the wild yeasts but there's a decent malt base to stop it being too dry or cutting. Actually feels bigger than it is, at 6%.
Nicely blended so there's plenty of wild notes but none of the rough edges. Really fresh and drinkable. I am very excited to see the next set of blends, where the complexity can go even crazier, especially if it's as nicely controlled as this is.
59 / 100
750ml dark green bottle purchased from the brewery.
Pours a very hazy caramel amber colour, with a little weight in the body. Head is really quite fizzy, ballooning up in a taupe crest but then running out of steam, leaving the beer looking quite still and dead. The colour is nice though.
Nose is pretty decent. There's a sweetness underlying it, which gives it some vanilla oak characters, but the wild characters do manage to make their presence felt. There's a sharp organic character like banana leaf mingled with some green peppercorns—with the sweetness it turns towards aniseed and spice cake. Interesting, but not exceptional.
Taste is similar, and perhaps lacking a little complexity. The front is won by a carbonic character, matched with a surprisingly aggressive effervescence. Fortunately, it develops into a more subtle wild character, with some soft acid and a touch of banana. Finish is slightly metallic, but with a fuller sweetness that's just very slightly cloying. Feel is very fizzy in the front, slightly dry and tannic in the back.
So, yes indeed. This is nowhere near as good as the Gold Blend I had earlier, and others who have had the Amber have been extremely impressed. So it's likely there's some inconsistency or variation in the batch. This is really only passable as a wild ale, and lacks a lot of the promise and complexity shown by the Gold I had. I'm still hopeful for more in the future.
80 / 100
750ml dark green bottle purchased direct from the brewery.
Pours a pleasantly hazed bright golden colour, that seems to refract and diffuse the light, making it glow. Head forms a bubbly white mass that settles out to a pleasant fine ring. Carbonation is fine and mild through a light body, but still suggests refinement. Minimal lacing. Looks a picture.
Nose is wonderfully vinous. Lovely bright acid fruit characters, complemented by a judicious woody oak. Note of peach, gooseberry, sawdust and unripe berries come through, combined with a metallic zing. It's bright and vibrant, with wonderful complexities. Very good indeed.
Taste is also good, and well constructed. Front is very lightly tart, with young white grape juice, kaffir lime and tea. Acidity comes through towards the middle, but the body is quite light, and it disappears quite quickly, rather than lingering and providing more complexity. It's judicious again with the oak, leaving a softness on the back of the palate which connects with a hint of earthy yeast. Feel is light—a little extra acidity would help here by lengthening the palate. It certainly doesn't need to be thicker or sweeter though.
Overall though, this is a cracking start from a new enterprise. This has some lovely wild ale notes to it, and shows someone who knows what they're doing. I'm sure it's also only a taste of things to come.