Wild Beer Co: 8 Wired: Black and Blue (England: Sour Ale: 5% ABV)
Visual: Yellow to peach hazy body with moderate white head.
Nose: Fresh and acidic. Fresh apples. Horse blankets. Peppered beef slices. Lightly salty. Flour. Light smoke.
Body: Acidic. Apples and pears. Tart. Apricot sweetness. Light vinegar notes. Fizzy. Chalk touch. Slight strawberry. Slight sulphur. Lemon.
Finish: Pineapple. Fresh. Flour touch. Slight strawberry. Slight black liquorice. Lemon.
Conclusion: Ok, hello, welcome to holographic flavour time again. For those of you not accustomed to the term (understandable as I think I am the only one who uses it this way) it is how I describe the experience with sour beers where amongst the sour flavours you suddenly get a host of unexpected flavours; Seemingly like an illusion caused by the shock to your tongue. It is a pretty cool thing and one of the things I love about sour beers.
This has pretty sharp sourness and acidity – not Cantillon level, but just a step past the level used by most sour beers, and beyond what I would imagine would be the comfort zone of people not used to them. As a result it isn’t one to use as an introduction sour – it hits the back of the throat with an acid burn and carries a light vinegar touch
There are slight rounding in characteristics, such as light flour and sulphur touches – possibly from the charred oak, or maybe not, but it does give a nice bit of contrast to the acidic apples and such like. It gives a slightly steam beer like texture to the middle, which for some reason feels kind of appropriate.
Pretty satisfying, but does feel a bit like a base beer to be worked from rather than the finished article. Once you get used to it, it taste pretty solid but no frills. The charred oak and the peppercorn are fairly subtle in their influence – definitely better than being overly dominant, but this could do with a little extra polish and piazza before being ready for the prime time.
Worth noting, though possibly, in fact probably psychosomatic – after I read the bottle and where the name came from, I got a kind of rare steak image of flavour around the acidic notes. Wonder how much of that was all in my mind. Anyway, a good sharp base – worth taking to some time to work from this.
Background: I am amused by the rainbow project – an attempt to link up British and world brewers ( this year New Zealand), give them a colour to use as inspiration ( in this case blue) and let them go hog wild on a collaboration. So, apparently inspired by black and blue streaks (because of course) this is a unhopped, non boiled sour ale that has been aged in charred bourbon casks for six months, and with green, black and white peppercorns added in. Never a boring moment. I love that Wild Beer co are bringing so much sour beer experimentation to the UK, and 8 wired is easily one of my favourite NZ brewers, so lots of hope for this one. Took my time with this one, was doing a full disk and system backup on my computer so had plenty of time to go. Drunk while listening to Iron Maiden: Book of Souls again. Had been debating with people at work who found it a very poor album. Still have to disagree, more an album experience than any individual song, which I can see would put people off, but very listenable as that. This was grabbed from the ever reliable Independent Spirit of Bath.