When you consider the sheer number of UK breweries cranking out high quality beer these days, choosing a beer can be difficult. There are times you want something a little different from the normal pale/IPA/stout fare, and in those difficult times Wild Beer Co are the brewers to turn to.
As the name suggests, wild yeast is this breweries speciality, and they truly are masters of their trade. Wild beer do offer IPA’s and Stouts in their extensive range, but for this review I’ll concentrate on some of their more sour/funky offerings...
First up is Modus Operandi, an old ale (aged, full bodied, malty ale) with wild yeast, aged on oak for 90 days. This beer is bursting with tart red fruit flavour, despite the fact there isn’t actually any fruit in this one. The initial sour hit borders on puckering, with sharp citrus notes and a touch of balsamic vinegar, all tempered by a sherbet sweetness, vanilla/woody barrel character, and a funky yeasty finish. There are still plenty of 2014 bottles kicking around, and the extra time in the bottle has only helped to bring out the amazing flavours in this one.
Indigo Child 8%
Next up is Indigo Child, brewed for Siren Craft Brew’s 2014 Rainbow project, where brewers from across the world collaborate on beer inspired by the colours of the rainbow, Wild teamed up with Italian brewer Toccalmatto to create this fruit and flower wild beer, and what a beer it is! This one is a little more challenging than the first, with funky yeast really taking the lead. There is a solid vein of pleasing floral/herbaceous notes to start, followed by a touch of gooseberry sourness, but then that wild yeast kicks in hard. To describe something as sweaty, musty, or perhaps more esoterically ‘barnyard’ and ‘horse blanket’ may not sound too appealing, but these things really do work in beer. Indigo Child embodies these characteristics in spades, and truly is a rewarding, refreshing tipple.
Blubus Maximus 5.5%
Last up is Blubus Maximus, a sequel to Wild beer and Beavertown’s 2014 collaboration brew Rubus Maximus, a fruit beer brewed with a literal ton of raspberries. This year they are back with a beer brewed with a ‘**** ton of Blueberries’, which may well mean there isn’t a literal ton like last year, either way this is still a special brew.
The sourness is more muted here, so this may be a good beer to start if you’re new to sours. Big, sweet, fresh blueberry notes rule this beer, backed up by the characteristic funky yeast, mild sourness, and an odd, but interesting touch of mint from the bay leaf addition.
Given the size and packaging style of this bottle, this is clearly not an everyday beer, but if you’re after something a little special, this, and pretty much anything by Wild Beer is the place to look.
Words - Nathaniel Colley