Wild Beer Co: Solera (England: Saison: 4.4% ABV)

Visual: Off white thin bubbles over a browned body.

Nose: White grapes. Funky yeast. Banana touch. Smooth crisp hops. Vanilla ice cream. Light pepper.

Body: Smooth. Peppery and yeasty. Whole meal bread. Spritzy. Cheese puffs. Slightly milky middle. Banana. Dried apricot. Malt drinks. Light tartness near the end that develops into apple pie and vanilla.

Finish: Wholemeal crackers. Mild cheese and pepper. Dry and slightly bitter. Yeasty. White wine. Crisp hop feel. Dried apricot.

Conclusion: This reminds me a bit of Orval. Not heavily, but somewhere in its yeast character and ease of drinking I can feel a common theme between the two. While I was not impressed with “Best Saison” when I ran into it, this version proves much more complex and cultured and gives a beer with more character. It simultaneously is smoother feeling, and yet bringing more of that eclectic yeast feel.

The flavour is quite earthy, but with hints of banana and dry white wine, all delivered with a slightly fizzy spritzy feel. That feel is again part of the oddity, how the feel of this beer changes so much. Smooth up front, building into a yeast character, then spritzy on the way out. It is another beer that seems as much about the texture as the taste.

While the hop presence is not high it is very crisp, giving another layer to the texture and light bitter bite that refreshes rather than overpowers the taste buds. Initially it seems quite simple in flavour, but over time it builds up giving this apple pie and vanilla flavour. It is very slow to reach this progression though, I was only just getting it in the final quarter of the bottle. For the most part it is relying on the texture to do the work, very refreshing and very good for a middle of the day beer to quench your thirst in the style of the traditional saisons.

It isn’t a beer that brings the wow factor, but, like orval referenced before, it is a beer that you can have several of back to back which is more than you can say about its heavier cousins. As referenced before, it seemed to bring out the best of the flavour near the end, and this makes me thing it would be worth experimenting with a short session of these, as I feel it has hidden depths yet to be explored. It seems a pretty sessionable saison, and in fact seems to work against being drunk as a single beer. As a single beer, a nice texture and easy drinking, but with that promise of more play as you go on.

Background: An interesting one this one, it uses the Solera beer system to mix a young freshly created saison with a barrel aged version with wild yeast in it. Apparently the aim is that by continually mixing every batch will have some of the original batch of the beer in it. I’d picked up the “Best Saison” they used as the base of this a while back and wasn’t impressed, but then I bumped into Solera on tap and thought it worth grabbing a bottle for more prolonged examination. This was picked up from “Independent Spirit