In March 2022, Wildflower Brewing & Blending teamed up with their mates at Mountain Culture to produce an extraordinary Australian lambic named Village. Brewed in the most traditional way possible, left out to collect native yeasts and bacteria overnight on Mountain Culture’s back deck in Katoomba and aged in 500 litres oak puncheons, Village was not only one of the best beers I had the pleasure of drinking in 2022, but it’s also possibly the best single release Wildflower has ever produced.
With the release of Village 2022, Wildflower have made good on their promise to make this an annual event. While the 2021 Village was made up of a blend of one-year-old barrels, Village 2022 is a 75/25 blend of one- and two-year-old barrels, respectively. In addition to the increasing complexity of older beer, brewers Topher and DJ have utilised knowledge gained from spending time with the legendary Pierre Tilquin at Brussels’ own Gueuzerie Tilquin.
I meant it when I said Village 2021 was a giddying taste of what’s to come and goddamn if I wasn’t giggling maniacally with my very first glass of 2022. Lambic style ales have a reputation as these funky and deeply complex elixirs that smell and taste like the floor of a Belgian stable and are only to be appreciated by a truly sophisticated palate. But what’s truly astounding to me about Village is just how vibrant, fruit driven and approachable it is.
The first whiff might be heavy on the barnyard funk but it’s overlaid with fresh overripe mango and apricots. With a bit more time to warm and open, the cheesy aged hops kick into gear along with something that’s kind of like the smell of brand new pair of leather boots. The palate is super softly textured, with creamy vanilla oak working in tandem with juicy lychee and peaches. At the backend, the acidity is really subdued, while the moreish bitterness is an absolute show stealer.
Given just how happy opening and sharing this beer made me, may you be fortunate enough to brighten your own little village soon.
Published April 12, 2023 2023-04-12 00:00:00