Beer and wine often exist in very different worlds. With the recent surge of creative, experimental and non-conventional products in both industries, however, wineries and breweries have found plenty of common ground, along with a portion of the market interested in exploring both worlds and their nuances.
Hot on the trail of vintages around the country, brewers have been meddling with vino in their breweries to try to achieve products that either showcase both grain and grape or enhance their ales with unique, wine induced characteristics.
Keegan Steinbacher of Eagle Bay Brewery went with the former, putting together a duo of beers that are an almost 50/50 coming together of wine and beer influence. The Sparkling Chardonnay Ale and Rosé Ale are being touted as beer and wine hybrids, with the first brewed with estate grown chardonnay grapes. A quarter of the beer spent two months in chardonnay barrels before being blended back, adding mouthfeel and oak characteristics. The base beer is a super light, straw coloured ale made up of pale malts and a touch of acidulated malt then hopped with Galaxy. High carbonation and subtle acidity yield an easy to drink ale that has delicate fruity, earthy flavours and some pleasant yeastiness. A simple, uncomplicated coming together of ale and Chardonnay.
The Rosé Ale, however, is a spritzy, golden affair that sees 200 litres of free run, estate-grown shiraz juice added to a light golden base beer, creating an eye-catching and brilliant golden pink hue. The nose is full of bold but complex berry and grassiness. It’s a touch tannic with smooth red fruit characters thanks to the whole bunch shiraz suspended in tank during fermentation, itself achieved by co-fermenting with both Saccharomyces Trois and naturally occurring yeasts on the grape skins.
Although it is almost void of any hop presence, Nelson Sauvin was the hop of choice and adds some soft bitterness that allows the acidity to shine. The high, tight carbonation and balance of acid and tannin yields a very moreish, drinkable beer.
If you're into experimental brewing and boundary dissolution, these two should be added to your list!
- Beer-Wine Hybrids
- 7.0% & 6.8%
- 10 IBU