Local brewer Tim Sides has embraced the ‘paddock to pint’ philosophy when brewing his local gluten-free beers.
Sourcing the grains themselves – including sorghum, millet and buckwheat – Tim and his wife Camille own Wild Polly Brewing Co, and produce Canberra’s only gluten-free beers.
“Coming from [a] farming background it’s really important to me to know where my grain comes from,” says Tim of his philosophy. “So I’ve got those relationships with the growers.”
After a caravanning trip around the country three years ago, Tim and Camille returned to their farm just outside of Canberra in Gundaroo with plans for a cellar-door-style beer offering, and, because their kids are coeliac, a gluten-free brewery was born.
“It’s so hard to find gluten-free food or anything when you’re out and about,” Tim says, “so we thought how can we make our beer gluten-free?”
Gluten-free beer is a bit of rarity with only a handful of Australian breweries taking it on. Tim says it’s Wild Polly’s point of difference among the more than 500 small breweries in Australia, and while the process is “very hard work”, it’s almost like returning beer to its ancient roots.
“The original beers would’ve been made with [grains like] we’re using, but that would’ve been lost thousands of years ago,” Tim says.
“So we’re really recreating the way beer was originally made, and transforming it into the modern variant of it.”
Currently, Wild Polly’s two beers – a pale ale and an India pale ale (IPA) – are brewed out of Zierholz’s brewery in Fyshwick, with future plans for Wild Polly to be brewed out in Gundaroo with home-grown hops and a cellar-door-style taproom.
“We went around and visited breweries; they were all like in these industrial areas,” Tim says. “So that’s what we wanted to get back to, bringing the brewery back to the farm, because all the ingredients grow on farms – all the grain and all the hops and everything.”
He says there is a growing push to support local, and with the support of locals and independent bottle shops, Wild Polly has been well received by the Canberra and Yass Valley Shire communities, and has even picked up a few awards.
“Everyone wants to buy local wine and everyone wants to eat local fresh produce – why not the same with beer?
“I think that’s a really important thing for people to be able to pick up on and consumers today want local, they want fresh, I think, and we’re able to provide that.”
For more information or to find a stockist, visit the Wild Polly website.
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