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This pours a hazy amber with a thin white head. The aroma is light, sherberty fruit, a little spice. There is an immediate tang that almost fizzes on the tongue, and then you have that incredible umami of the mushroom, followed by a little hint of black pepper. This is one of our favourites from Wild Beer Co, a real celebration of unusual ingredients, a pleasing battle between tart yeasty sour and rich smooth savoury notes. Absolutely cracking!
There is no other brewery in the world making beers like the Wild Beer Company. In fact, there are very few breweries that even look like Wild Beer Company. Most are a study in stainless steel, but walking into Wild Beer’s home on a remote Somerset farm, it’s wood that dominates the scene. Dozens of barrels are stacked floor to ceiling, each with its contents scribbled on the side: Modus, Ninkasi, Sourdough (yes, a beer using sourdough yeast). Not all the beers Wild Beer make will touch the inside of a barrel, but what is clear is that they all live up to their tagline: Drink WILDLY Different.
Take Millionaire for example, a chocolate and salted caramel milk stout that is every bit as decadent as it sounds. Or how about Wild Goose Chase? A tart, sprightly beer fermented using locally-harvested wild yeast and gooseberries? Or perhaps one of our favourite beers (ever?), Sleeping Lemons, a gose (a low-ish alcohol, slightly salty German beer) brewed with lemons preserved in salt – can there be anything more refreshing? Wild Beer is indeed wildly different. And while it can be tempting to take the innovation too far, head brewer Brett Ellis remains true to the aim of making all their beers very drinkable. That’s true whether it’s Zintuki, a quirky sour ale blended from Somerset Wild, their beer fermented using yeast cultivated from a nearby orchard, along with an ale fermented with champagne yeast and some local apple juice, or the more conventional ‘Fresh’ pale ale. Wild Beer pack more flavour in to their beers than many breweries can dream of.
As Brett writes: “We love sour beers, their unrivalled complexity and nuances make them both the most exciting and engaging styles of beer to brew and to drink. The romance and the art of brewing come through in a very different way when using the extraordinary uncontrollable wild yeasts and bacteria.
“There's wild yeast and bacteria everywhere, especially here in Somerset with so many orchards nearby. When you make a happy home for them in your brewery they just show up and spontaneously ferment – and sour – a beer.”
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