Congratulations to Five Barrel on this beer – it’s good stuff before it even gets to your mouth. The brewery made Bière De Maison for GABS, but the environment of a beer festival – surrounded by other beers, with just a name or single sentence to describe the beer – doesn’t do it justice.
For this, Five Barrel’s first farmhouse ale or beer featuring using wild yeast, the team worked with local producers to build Bière De Maison from the ground up. The organic grains – pilsner malt, red wheat malt and raw red wheat – came from Voyager Malt in Whitton; the fresh Centennial hops came from Ryefield Hops in Bemboka; and the wild yeast was cultured by Mogwai Labs in Wollongong, who we wrote about here from wattle flowers found at Port Kembla Beach. Five Barrel even made a series of short videos (links above) to give insight into each of these producers: what they do, and why they do it.
The end result of these all NSW ingredients is a laidback farmhouse ale that’s a pleasure to savour. Yeast esters give a lovely smell of sweet pear juice, the aroma almost disguising the barnyard funk that lands as you begin to sip. Bretty horse blanket joins with hints of bread and the semi-sweetness of perry to give a surprisingly refreshing experience. The mouthfeel helps here too: while visually this beer is cloudy, the body feels clean and clear with just a light spritz across the tongue.
Bière De Maison is a nuanced beauty, and all the more impressive for being Five Barrel’s first wild ale.
Side Salad is a beer less about the nuance, and more about waves of sweet fruity haze. It’s like the Five Barrel crew are saying: “You want a juicy beer? I’ll give you a juicy beer!” – with some good-natured fist shaking thrown in for good measure. It’s thick with Citra, Nelson Sauvin, Amarillo and Mosaic hops, and they don’t hold back.
Take a big whiff of the pineapple and tinned peaches and rockmelon oozing out of your glass, and you’ll be rewarded with a hit of deep, dank resin as well. But in the mouth, lactose sweetness washes away anything that isn’t juicy goodness; there’s not an iota of resin to be found. It leaves only the happy fruits, all unicorns and daisies and sunshine and lollipops and rainbows and whatever else that song is about.
Published May 30, 2022 2022-05-30 00:00:00