English Roots

Wild Beer Co: English Roots (England: Herb/Spice/Vegetable: 4.8% ABV)

Visual: Fairly dark black cherry red. Thin dash of coffee cream head.

Nose: Malt chocolate. Earthy hops.

Body: Smooth and creamy. Parsnips. Malt chocolate. Toffee. Light cherries. Earthy. Slight soil character. Cinnamon. Bean sprouts. Jelly sweetness.

Finish: Bean sprouts. Earthy. Malt chococlate.

Conclusion: Traditional, yet different. Which seems to be pretty much the Wild Beer Co. way This is an unusual one, and yet offered up in a very traditional cask real ale style for once. The base ale, to me at least, tastes slightly like a real ale version of Scarlet Fever. (Which also exists best I know)

It is very smooth and creamy, but what makes it so unusual is the very evident vegetable characteristics that come through from their main twist of odd ingredients. You can really taste the rootiness with parsnip, bean sprouts and earthy hops all in the flavours (though on checking only bean sprouts doesn’t seem to be an actual ingredient). It is like a brewed up vegetable stew.

Surprisingly that description is of a beer that is actually quite nice. Soothing and a bit of a meal in a glass kind of thing. There is counterbalance with sweetness below, all cherries and toffee. It takes time to rise up, the first few mouthfuls are all about the vegetables, but when you need it a mix of dark cherries and sweetness rises up to take the reigns.

Overall a quite grounded but tasty beer, different and with quite a few subtle complexities to it. Its unique characteristics are far from sessionable, and I cannot see it being a regular ale – either for the brewers to make or for introducing into a nights line up. However it is fun and different and worth trying for that, if not often.

Background: Another case of disagreeing with rate beer on beer style. They list it as a stout. It is made with acorn, parsnips and oats which in my mind makes it the most blatant vegetable beer that ever existed. Unusually for Wild Beer Co this is a cask ale – I’ve seen one or two of their beers in this format, but usually they are very keg orientated. I tend to try whatever I can of Wild Beer co’s stuff as they tend to be both high quality and experimental. This was tried at Bath Brew House on a night out with mates.

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