Wild Beer Co: Smoke ‘N’ Barrels: Spring (England: Smoked: 4% ABV)
Visual: Pale grain. Large white bubbled head. Some carbonation.
Nose: Blue cheese. Wet wood. Hickory smoke. Perfume. Barbecue pits.
Body: Lime notes. Soft cheese. Smoked beef. Sage stuffing. Dried cherry pocked biscuits. Light syrup sweetness. Vanilla.
Finish: Wood chips. Paprika. Sage and onion. Beef stew. Light treacle. Vanilla. Smoke.
Conclusion: This gets oh so much right – it tastes like a mix between breathing in aromatic burning wood smoke, blue cheese, sage stuffing and smoked beef. That is a hell of a set for a smoked lager, no?
It is big and chewy feeling, despite the fact that the lager textured does not deviate much from expectations of a base lager – the wealth of flavour provides the weight which the texture does not.
In fact, for all the joy this beer brings, all the herbs and big smoke, it could actually probably do with a bit of a drier, and slightly less intrusive base. Now this is just me being picky, the base is pretty well done, but every now and then the sweetness rises from the normal smooth vanilla note level to a more treacle and syrup level and that additional sweetness breaks the wonderful savoury grip that the beer has on your tastebuds which is a pity.
Now that is just a minor point on how I feel the already good beer can be improved on. As for the rest of the beer? I love this – it has a wonderful use of the wood to create a medley of barbecue smoke notes in the mouth. Also it is wonderfully low abv for such a flavoursome beer – and the lager style makes it very manageable to drink despite the big flavours. This is one I could keep on for a while. Even better, the smoke is flavoursome rather than just ashed as hell – it mixes with the herbs and spice to create a wonderfully rich mix.
It is far from the most intense for smoke, so if that is the appeal for you, then this is not the one to go for. However for smoked backed flavour this is great, a few minor tweaks and it is ready to be a classic. Looking forwards to the next one.
Background: I’m a big fan of Wild Beer Co, and this smoked lager sounded pretty interesting. It is the spring entry in a range of smoked beers – this one using cherry and oak along with rosemary and sage. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit and drunk while listening to, yet again, the excellent David Bowie album Black Star”