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By Marissa Ciampi
May 06, 2017

Meet Sydney's New Barrel-Aged Wild Beer Brewery, Wildflower

"This same beer could have been made 150 years ago."
By Marissa Ciampi
May 06, 2017

Sydney newcomer Wildflower Brewing and Blending is bringing things back to basics, creating barrel-aged, blended wild beers that focus on balance, approachability and natural ingredients. Owner Topher Boehm has an innate fascination with crafting and learning — his previous preoccupations include book binding and bespoke shoe-making, as well as, most recently, brewing at Batch Brewing Company

"When I got into brewing I loved working with the raw materials, but when I found out yeast was available everywhere I had a desire to take it one step further, to source more materials from Australia and what is naturally found around me," says Boehm. "This same beer could have been made 150 years ago."

In this naturalist vein, Boehm cultivates wild yeast found in New South Wales and uses Australian malts and hops where possible. Though barrel aging, especially with wild yeast, can add a tart characteristic to the brews, Wildflower is not a sour beer facility. On the contrary, Boehm is focused on producing balanced, easy-drinking beers that are closer to farmhouse or saison-style ales than sours. Blending newly brewed beer with existing barrel-aged beer is what gives this balance between fresh and funky.

In a Marrickville warehouse that's rumoured to have a once acted as a rivet factory for the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Wildflower's space is very bare bones and is clearly all about the French oak barrels, fifty of which currently line one wall. Boehm sourced these ex-wine barrels from Orange, working with such heavyweight wineries as De Salis, Ross Hill and Canobolas~Smith. 

The beer is initially contract brewed at Batch and then transported to the Wildflower barrels for blending. Wildflower's core range includes a Table Beer, the Gold Blend #1 and the Amber Blend #1. The Table Beer was inspired by the brewing culture Boehm experienced in France. "We would always have beer with lunch, and I love the idea of stopping during the day and having a table beer that is light and refreshing," he says. He is specifically fond of beers you can pair with food, and describes his gold and amber ales as white wine versus red wine for this purpose.

"The most important thing for me is that people just enjoy the beer and don't over-analyse it," says Boehm. "I want the beer to be approachable and simple so it's just a nice brew to enjoy with friends and have a chat over without any pretension."

The first Wildflower deliveries went out in mid-April, with venues including Automata, Bitter Phew and The Dolphin Hotel wine room, plus bottle shops including Oak Barrel, Bucket Boys  and Paddington's Five Way Cellars, all snagging this batch. A few venues have already sold out, but if you missed out on this round, there will be more where that came from soon enough.

Wildflower Brewing and Blending is located at 11-13 Brompton St, Marrickville. The tasting room will open to the public for Saturday tastings and takeaway in the near future, so keep an eye on their website for updates.

Published on May 06, 2017 by Marissa Ciampi

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