Wild Beer Co: The Blend: Winter 2015 : Beyond Modus II (England: Sour Ale: 6% ABV)
Visual: Hazy red. Off white bubbles.
Nose: Dry. White wine. Soft raisins. Madeira cake. Tart. Apples. Light oak.
Body: Acidic apple. Raisins. Sherbety lemon. Fresh. Plums. Sweet red wine. Cherries. White tart grapes. Spiced rum.
Finish: Lemon sherbet. Vinegar touch. Oak. Raisins. Sticky brown paper. Cider.
Conclusion: These beers seem to be getting closer and closet to a Flemish bruin / Belgian lambic mix with each iteration. Not a bad mix to go for – the two styles are quite similar in tartness, just differ in what tart elements they emphasise. This is very tart, mixing cider apple with white wine on the more lambic styled side. On the Flemish brown influenced side it runs to raisins, vinegar and sticky brown paper. Together that packs quite a punch.
However, things are starting to get a tad familiar with the Wild Beer sours. The cider like touch seems to be their speciality, and while Modus is a quality beer, it is very familiar in the characteristics here. What makes this seem different is that it is much more acidic and tart than the standard Modus.
While nice, I am slightly disappointed that it doesn’t really break the mould or offer anything radically new or even of notably superior quality. This is very much at the expensive end of their range, and yet it isn’t significantly different or better than the cheaper mainstays of their range.
The increased acidity is refreshing but does make it hard to get a feel for the darker fruits within the beer – it feels like it is hiding some of the complexity the beer could show if it was reined in just a touch. A pity as the deeper notes hinted at within the beer could make for an excellent beer, but they really don’t get time to express themselves. So, with the acidity you get a trade off against the more complex notes, rather than adding to and improving. As always, maybe a few years in the bottle will settle it. However at the cost I will admit that I am not going to grab another one to lay down, for that money I expect top quality at first touch.
Also, a hint, if you do grab this, share it. Had by yourself, as I did in an anti social moment, it gets far weaker over the glasses – feeling rougher edged by the end.
So, nice enough but needs a shake up to stand out. I’d say just grab standard Modus Operandi.
Background: Wild Beer Co has been a favourite of mine for a few years now – experimental, pushing sour beers, which are getting more common now, but were rare as hen’s teeth for a while. So, I grab as many of theirs as I can. This one coming from the similar old favourite Independent Spirit. It is their second of “The Blend” series that takes advantage of their three years worth of sour beer stocks. This one uses Modeus Operandi as its base beer to work from. Mainly listened to Napalm Death while drinking, as I am on a bit of thrash metal kick. However while trying to get the bloody waxed top open the song “Die Motherfucker Die” by Dope may have featured prominently. Because god damn it did not want to open.