There seems to be a brewery on every other block in Marrickville by now, but there’s something a bit different going on at Wildflower Brewing and Blending. Dotted around this charming, rustic cellar door are bunches of native flowers, an omnipresent reminder of co-founders Topher Boehm and Chris Allen’s dedication to their local ethos.
It looks like the perfect setting for an outback soirée, albeit a little more refined: corrugated iron walls and burnished wooden furniture drive home the Australiana vibe, and stacks of barrels – some hidden behind canvas, others in plain sight – quietly cradle ageing brews. While many breweries now try their hand at barrel-ageing, the crew at Wildflower are breathing new life into this old technique and leading the charge for its revival.
This is not a brewery in the traditional sense. Boehm makes his wort down the road at Batch Brewing Co (where he used to be head brewer) before introducing it to yeast foraged in New South Wales. It’s a one-of-a-kind culture sourced from flowers and bark from all over the state and crossed with a Belgian Saison strain – simply put, you’ll never find another beer quite like what they’ve got here.
These beers are funky and complex – not only due to the ancient process of wild fermentation, but also because of the flavours they pick up from time spent in neutral oak, and the way they’re blended together. The results are nothing short of magical. There’s nothing typical here; every batch has its own distinct elegance. The Amber Australian Wild Ale is a great jumping-off point, rich and bronze in colour with a deceptively delicate palate of caramel and clove, ending with pleasant citrus notes. It’s a surprisingly easy-drinking crowd-pleaser that even your dad might like.
If you’re feeling adventurous (and given that you’re here, you just might be), give something super small-batch like Pheebs a crack. Using spent raspberries from another limited-run seasonal brew (the 2019 St Phoebe), this is a table beer you won’t want to share. Pretty in pink, Pheebs is tart, dry and practically addictive – and at only 3.5% ABV, a friend you can play with all afternoon.
To visit Wildflower, you’ll need to be organised. Opening hours are strictly limited, (Fridays and Saturdays from 2-6pm only), but takeaways are also available during the week from 10am-4pm on Tuesday through Friday. If you want a peep under the proverbial hood, book a guided tour to understand the process firsthand.
Mature, like-minded folk gather here for something different and treat the place with the respect it deserves. Seats are hot property, and we won’t be giving ours up anytime soon.