”At this point, we’ve not even scratched the surface” says brewer Nathan Borg, and soon to be the wild beer whisperer at Svinninge. ”When we get the orchard up and running and producing fruit, it will essentially be a heaven for wild beer production. Like the coral reef is to the ocean, the orchard will be this thriving land of cultures and bacterias that we can play with”.
The benefit of a space like the Svinninge facility is that it allows for an amazing amount of barrels, Foeders, bright tanks and fermentation tanks. The plan for the wild brewing production is to have it’s own fermentors and bright tanks, then in a separate room will be all the barrel aged beers that aren’t wild, known as the ‘clean beer’ barrels .”Should we want to have the Jule Mælk aged in a bourbon barrel for example, then it would be on the clean side, since we aren’t brewing with any wild yeasts, and it goes in the barrels essentially as a finished product. But if we wanted to develop a beer in the barrel, such as a saison, we would keep it in the wild brewery. Then we could see how it reacts to the yeast and it’s environment, and eventually we could create a blend from selected saison barrels too, so we end up with a wild beer that is complex, delicate and beautifully balanced.
The first stage of this venture is to get some wild beer in the space, and as Nathan says, ”Find our feet. Find out what keeps our yeast happy and healthy and go from there.” Next would be to try and harvest some local cultures from the land at Svinninge, and find out what kind of exciting flavours can be made from there, which can then hopefully develop into house cultures that can be used as the yeasts in our beers.
There’s also plans for at least one coolship as well, which is a large, shallow open container in which fresh wort can be exposed to micro-fauna and wild yeast. ”On a nice summers day we can put it on a trailer and take it out to the fields, or a few years down the track if there’s some decent size fruit trees, park it under one of the trees and take in all those lovely wild yeasts from the trees and fruit”
”There’s a fun project that I want to do with the Flanders Red that we’ve currently got in one of the Foeders at BRUS, which was a collaboration we did with Black Project. So the idea is to make it a collaboration solera foeder. We draw out half of the Flanders, package it, and have that as our first edition of the beer. Then we collaborate with another brewery who make the wort to fill up the other half again, and start the re-fermentation; then we just keep doing the same: draw out half, package as the second edition, and keep working from there. Soon we’ll have all these exciting editions and variations of this beer, and there’s still a lot of potential to have a unique flavour and taste given that you’re only using half of the original”
Even though the beauty of these kind of beers is their need for time, there are actually a range of approaches and styles in this field, which means that although some projects will finally come to fruition much later down the line, there are some beers which could be ready to taste by the beginning of 2020. ”We could brew some beers that would ferment out three years from now, and we probably will, but it’s also nice to be able to provide a more seasonal approach too – much like the original format of a farmhouse/ saison ale, which was brewed for the seasonal workers on the farm.” It would mean that if there was a beer that was aged for perhaps only four to six months, then those younger style beers are perfect for a casual evening, where a fresh wild beer sits on the table at a dinner instead of wine. ”I would love for people to see the potential for this kind of beer and its food pairings, its delicate nature, not to mention just to be able to taste it fresh.”
Though Nathan is bursting with ideas for the wild beers and the ageing, he also stresses that the whole point is not to rush it. ”Time, and the space of course, will tell us the best way to keep moving forward with the wild production, but its an exciting time for sure.”