It's been a fair few years now since Costa Nikias switched from winemaking to beer, but he's brought many facets of winemaking into his approach to beer, and has also been forging a relationship with Bannockburn Vineyards, the Geelong region producers of what he says is probably his "favourite Chardonnay in the whole world".
The relationship reaches drinkers under the Convergence banner in a series dating back to 2019. In 2022 (for the beers released in 2023), they introduced a couple of changes: the ABV of the finished beer was dropped to 3 percent – "to allow the microbial character from Bannockburns vineyard to really play out" – and they added a companion release to which was added fresh chamomile flowers.
Whether intentional or not, it has to be said that Convergence 2022 could pass for a glass bubbles on appearance and possesses a carbonation so exuberant it almost caused me to sneeze on my first pass (lesson not learned, I almost repeated this with the chamomile edition). And while this wild ale is low in ABV it's high on life – as well as liveliness: the fermentation in a 500L oak cask on Bannockburn's chardonnay lees delivers subtle complexities aplenty, with a little barnyard funk accompanying the citrusy aromas and peachy flavours, and a dry-as-you-like finish. If you can find a closer experience to Champagne or prosecco at 3 percent ABV, please send details on a postcard to Crafty Towers...
As for Convergence + Chamomile, the intention was to add a floral aspect, but it appears to have done rather more than that. The liquid feels more rounded and fuller, with the flowers smothering the funk – but not the acid sheen – and adding a floral sweetness to taste, to leave you with a Belgian-esque, tart summer refresher.
Published June 5, 2023 2023-06-05 00:00:00