So its taken me a little while to get around to reviewing this drop from the Lion owned James Squire. I never managed to get my hands on the original 2018 release up here in FNQ but happened to find the 2019 in one of the mega liquor stores locally, where I should mention you are are able to purchase it online still.
There is a great back story to The Wreck, which I don’t have space to go into the full story here suffice to say that divers found some old bottles of beer on board the wreck of the Sydney Cove, a vessel that was heading to Port Jackson but ran aground just off Preservation Island, north of Tasmania in 1797. The beer was sealed within the bottles with thick wax and incredibly some of the yeast inside was still alive. This then led to a partnership between the Queen Victorian Museum & Art Gallery, the Australian Wine Research Institute and James Squire, to bring back the world’s oldest surviving beer to life.
That’s all well and good but what’s it like?
Well that old yeast really drives the flavours here. Its quite akin to a Dubbel with its flavour profile, which isn’t surprising as the DNA analysis showed the yeast to be a hybrid strain that most closely resembled yeast used in rich, fruity Belgian Trappist ales, however its a touch more phenolic than a Dubbel. Its leather and spicy, with a touch of barnyard aromas to it.
However out of the glass on a 32deg arvo, this porter showed more like a very dark dunkel, or dark lager. Clean and crisp across the tongue, layers of malt and chocolate, with a long lingering, mild woody spice note in the finish.
I was very pleasantly surprised (or sip-prised) here, I thought it would more about the guff but this is a solid beer that isn’t priced out of the world. My only negative here is that it was probably a touch too carbonated, but that is also a positive if you’re looking to match this to food as that carbonation will help strip the tongue clean.
Id definitely go back for more, and great Xmas present for those beer lovers.