Three years ago Wig and Pen brewer, Richard Watkins, laid down an oak cask of beer modelled on Belgium’s unique “lambic” style.
It’s risky stuff indeed as the tag team of microbes that create the beer could well bring the whole batch undone; the barrel itself might harbour uninvited micro guests; and the oxidative environment brings its own risks.
The style originated in the Brussels region and, indeed, a visit to brewers in the area sparked Watkins’ desire to have a go.
English beer expert, the late Michael Jackson, described it as “the oldest style of beer readily found in the developed world. Lambic beers gain their tartness from a content of at least 30 per cent raw wheat …but their defining characteristic is the use of wild yeast”.
Next week we’ll review the Wig’s lambic and get the full story on how Watkins made it.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2012
First published 8 February 2012 in The Canberra Times