The Cultured #3 – Ferm faves of 2018

We asked The Cultured Community what their best fermentation products of 2018 were? With an explosion of exciting products on the market recently it is a tough choice. 

Stefan, from Little Wolf Brewery , jumped in surprisingly with a wine considering his current love and vocation is that of beer.

Mother Rock White Blend

He highlighted the flavour development cross over with French Cider and spontaneously fermented Belgian sour beer.

He then went onto give an rather enticing flavour description of the wine,”The nose was deep and enticing, something you could sink into over and over. The acid balance and flavour were just mesmerising. Ripe fruit all over the place – apples, pears, stone fruit. Plenty of earthy leathery tones, but in just the right kind of subtle way that builds depth of flavour rather than being overpowering”


The acid balance and flavour were just mesmerising. Ripe fruit all over the place – apples, pears, stone fruit

Stefan Wiswedel – Little Wolf Brewery

The description made some of The Cultured Community immediately thirsty.

A little more digging into where this wine comes from throws up an explanation to it’s complex and enticing flavour profile. Swartland based Mother Rock wines are a collaboration between  winemaker Johan Meyer and Indigo founder Ben Henshaw. Johan, a rising star of the new South African wine scene, developed strong relationships with some of the best grape growers across the Cape over the years. There is a great deal on the white bland that Stefan eulogizes at Cybercellar. 

 Aegir Project is producing some of the most innovative and exciting beers in South Africa at the moment and have tried there hand, apparently successfully, according to Michelle, at fermenting a cider that does not taste like alcoholic lolly water. 

Michael Everson, previously of Everson’s Cider , has been enjoying kimchi flavour noodles. 

Regular Contributor, Carel van Heerden found a bit of the fermented promise land while studying to become a BJCP certified judge. Which as a side note passed with 77 points. So congrats Carel from The Cultured Community. 

I must agree this was probably one of my ferm faves of 2018. Blended lambics seem out of this world and with the craftsmanship that goes into taming nature being particularly impressive. 

 Joshua M. Bernstein  wrote a beautiful blog on wild beers for goodbeerhunting.com, America Gone Wild; were is observes that Wild Fermented beers were once complete outliers and are starting to become more and more revered as the global interest in old world  fermentation techniques increases exponentially every year.

“Wild beers nod to beer’s very beginnings, when raw ingredients and happenstance created a happy little buzz… 

Here’s the thing: forecasting beer’s future is tough. Forty years back, IPAs were essentially a historical footnote. Now, they’re modern craft brewers’ biggest moneymakers. Who knows what will be in style 40 years from now. Wild beers will likely not ride that lucrative rocket ship. The flavors and aromas are just too foreign, a funky tributary from the mainstream…

Remember, though: what may seem weird today was commonplace yesterday” –


Remember, though: what may seem weird today was commonplace yesterday”


Joshua M. Bernstein – Good Beer Hunting 

However the fermentation product I most enjoyed in 2018 was a spirit that I had a previously fling with and that passion was rekindled in a big way. While researching for an article for Ontap Magazine on local Agave Spirit I was once again reminded of the beautiful complexity of Mezcal. 


Islay of Tequila due to its complex smokey profile

Murray Slater – Community Builder

I had previously enjoyed Mezcal in the UK and described it at the Islay of Tequila due to its complex smokey profile. Local Mezcals are now starting to get traction. An why not? We are the second biggest producers of the raw product, blue agave, and SA is the 4th most prolific consumers of agave spirits ( tequila). I am presently enjoying Leonista Blanco and 4th Rabbit. Both are made using traditional methods which add to the products authenticity. 

Agave Pinas ( hearts) been covered with earth while sitting in a fire pit. 4th rabbit are processing the raw Blue Agave plant via traditional rustic methods which impart and old world complexity and romance.. 

Mike Halls, a beer blogger and gypsy brewer, enjoyed a nordic spirit while on his travels to the north. 

Mikkeller Distilled Imperial Stout 

Mike touches upon the magic of experiences and how we become emotionally attached to memories that are triggered by chance meetings and sensory encounters. 

Thank you to all who contributed to the #weekly-topic on The Cultured Community. 2019 will be a year of many more delightful and insightful discoveries. I wonder what next year’s Ferm Faves will be. 

Until then go out and enjoy the wonderful world of fermented products. Seek out the magic in life.  

If you wish to join the conversation and be part of the Cultured Community please email murray@fermented.co.za. 

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