Wild Beer Co: Ninkasi (England: Saison: 9% ABV)

Visual:  Hazy banana skin colour with small overripe banana touched white head.

Nose: Apples and tart cider. Apricot meringue. Pineapple. Banana candy sweets.

Body: Sparkling. White wine and lots of grapes. Vanilla. Gooseberries. Cider.

Finish: Light bitterness. Malt biscuits. Apple juice. Quite dry.

Conclusion: This is utterly lovely. A Belgium styled Saison with wine elements and Bristol cider touches. Yes that is a complement. No really.

This thing really rocks the saison style, but with a range of different flavours completely different to what you would expect. Considering that that Saisons can sometimes seem simple unless they are done very well that is especially impressive. There are real fresh grapes and a wine feel that sparkles in the mouth.  The finish especially calls to sparkling white wine. The tart elements that comes with it are utterly refreshing but never become what some of my friends refer to as “Challenging”.
There are lots of light fruit flavours in there, calling to apples, apricot, gooseberry and more. The flavours float and sparkle (and not in a bloody twilight way). Full of flavour but never heavy. You can barely believe that there is 9% abv behind this, and if there wasn’t you would be able to drink it for days.

So far Wild Beer Co have turned out good and different beers, but until this one never hit the moment of excellence.  This thing never betrays its Saison style, but borrows from so many others to layer upon it. While it is not as pure an example as say, the excellent Saison Dupont, instead it chooses to transcend the beer style.

So, for weakness, you cannot session it as it seems to beg you to do, and it isn’t a very traditional take on the style In all other ways it is a frankly great beer.

Background: I’ve been looking for this one for a while. From Wild Beer Co, a new experimental brewery in Bristol. This uses Somerset Apple Juice, Wild yeast, secondary fermentation with champagne yeast and is brewed with NZ hops. Ninkasi is apparently the Sumarian goddess of beer. Maybe I should switch to “To Ninkasi” from ”To Bacchus” as my salutation of choice. Anyway, after looking out for this for a while I found it on tap at Brewdog Bristol. Perfect.