There’s a term that wine-drinkers love to throw around. It’s a term that exists as the tipping between point wine-drinker and wine-snob. Terroir.
For the uninitiated, ‘terroir’ refers to the specificity of place. That is, wines are made authentic, and in a way better, when they encapsulate the soil, climate, weather, and topography of a region. It’s the idea that a sense of time and place in a specific plot of land can come through in a glass of wine.
It…somewhat makes sense.
I mean, it is true (as far as I can work out) that soil composition can impart certain flavours into a grape which can impart flavours into a wine, and this can be based on the amount of sunlight hours, the angle that the sun hits the vines, and the slope of the land determining how much run-off water the vines receive, and this can change how a wine tastes from year to year.
But, I’m not a wine-drinker. I wouldn’t really know if this theory rings true upon tasting. If you do want to learn more though, please watch Oz & James’ Big Wine Adventure.
The good thing about beer however, is that it’s a much simpler affair. Brewers strive for consistency of flavour. A pint of VB is meant to – unfortunately – taste like a pint of VB. Every. Single. Time. You-Make-The-Bad-Life-Choice-Of-Buying-It.
It’s one of the key selling points of breweries.
Your heavily-hopped West Coast IPA will taste like a heavily-hopped West Coast IPA and keep bludgeoning your taste buds until you concede defeat.
There’s one brewery that goes about things a little bit different however:
Run by Ashley and Jane Huntington, the brewery operates out of a farm in the Derwent Valley in Tasmania. They set up shop right next to Bush Park (the producer of 60% of Australia’s hops) and set about producing ‘terroir beers’. Specializing in barrel-aged, spontaneous-fermentation, bottle-conditioned, ‘live’, ‘real farmhouse ales’, they deliberately seek batch to batch variety in their beers – something that goes against the grain of almost every other brewer.
They are personalized beers – each bottle after all, comes individually numbered and details the particulars of the brew.
Their dream is to create an ‘Estate Ale’, where all the ingredients, and the beers, are grown, processed, brewed, and bottled on their farm.
A rad idea if ever I’ve heard one. I’m so completely a fan I’m almost jumping onto the Interwebs to book flights over to the Apple Isle to help them.
Meanwhile, I had a go at their ‘Cleansing Ale’ to see what the fuss was about.
It’s…..different. Unlike some who have tasted this beer –as seen in the reviews read whilst compiling this, people didn’t approach this beer expecting a sour affair – I knew what to expect. It’s a tad sour, a tad doughy, a tad biscuit, a tad hoppy, and a lot tart. It’s a lighter beer that bubbles and fizzes slightly, and leaves your mouth feeling refreshed.
Each individual bottle would no doubt have slightly different characteristics, so from bottle-to-bottle you might be faced with something ‘new’.