Truffle season has begun, so it’s no surprise to see new products and innovative pairings hitting the market. Getting in early is Bridgetown’s Blackwood Valley Brewing Company (aka The Cidery) with its truffle ale and truffle cider, the results of a 12-month collaboration with Manjimup’s Truffle & Wine Co.
Blackwood’s brewer and cidermaker Mark Hollett was apprehensive about working with truffles, having never smelled or tasted one before being approached by The Truffle & Wine Co.
“I’ve never been a fan of odd beers, so I didn’t think I’d ever be making beer from non-traditional ingredients,” says Hollett. “I didn’t know much about truffles, and was very impressed. It’s not often I taste something that I can’t compare to something I already know.”
The Truffle & Wine Co. is no stranger to beer, having joined forces with Chicago brewer Moody Tongue on a shaved black truffle pilsner in 2014. The result of that collaboration, featured at Michelin-starred New York restaurant Per Se, sold for US$120 (AU$160) a bottle. Blackwood’s truffle ale is slightly more affordable at $42 for 500ml.
This partnership has also produced Australia’s first commercial truffle cider.
“The cider is a completely different experience,” says Hollett. “I would describe the ale as quite complex, with the truffle integrated into the drink. The cider plays host to the truffle, allowing it to rise from the aroma and flavour the cider a little more clearly.”
Even before the truffle cider hits stockists, Hollett promises the imminent arrival of a second variety, carrying even more truffle.
Blackwood’s truffle ale won a specialty beer silver medal at the recent Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA), alongside its chestnut ale which won gold in the same category.
“I’m very pleased with those two beers,” says Hollett. “To step up the first time in a big competition like that was great.”