Tag Archive: The Wild Beer Co


Wild Beer Co: Jambo! (England: Imperial Stout: 8.5% ABV)

Visual: Black with an impressively large and solid coffee froth coloured head.

Nose: Raspberry and cherries. Wheat. Cocoa dust. Fresh tart notes. Orange peel. Light cloves. Strawberry crème chocolate – Belgian chocolate style.

Body: Frothy. Tart black cherry and raspberry. Tart grapes. Bitter black chocolate and smooth Belgian chocolate mix. Bready backing. Rhubarb. Gooseberries. Milk.

Finish: Raspberry coolers. Milky and bitter chocolate mix. Gooseberry. Brown bread. Malt chocolate. Rhubarb. Black cherry.

Conclusion: You know, Imperial Stouts are big, big beers, that will not be news to most of you. It is a rare thing however for their flavours to get shoved to the back of a beer. Prepare your shocked faces. Here, it has been. The base, the chocolate you expect from an IS is there, and the bitter chocolate specially show top and tail. The heart of the beer though? The heart belongs to the tart fruit.

There is definite tart raspberry, delivered in raspberry cooler style – fresh and mouth refreshing, but that is far from the full story. There is distinct cherries – initially red and then into black cherry – there are even rhubarb hints. This beer uses the chocolate stout base as weight to allow it to go hog wild with the tart fruit.

The tartness leverages a contrasting milky character in the finish to balance the fresh air -a satisfying, if odd, mix. This isn’t a beer accentuated by fruit, this is a beer about the fruit – using the beer as a delivery method.

So, is it good? Yeah, pretty good. Not many beers like this are around, and less so ones this dedicated to the concept. Like many unusual beers, it is not super polished, so I would judge iy by how much you like the idea. Do you want a tart fruit led stout? One that can pushes tart grapes and gooseberry notes at the edges of a red fruit beer? Then this is for you. Otherwise, if you want a more standard Imperial Stout then this is not for you.

It’s that simple.

Background: While I used to rave about Wild Beer Co, these days I’m more split – they still turn out some excellent beers, but their experiments have been a bit hit or miss lately. Still, there are many brewers going with the standard styles – doesn’t hurt to have a few experimenters in there as well. This one is one of their more standard sounding beers – an Imperial Stout made with raspberries and cocoa nibs. Jambo is apparently a Swahili greeting. It has a very different meaning in some parts of Scotland. I won’t go into that here. Anyway, went for some Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! from Godspeed You! Black Emperor to listen to – the heavier darker notes of it make it still my favourite of their works.

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Wild Beer Co: Rooting Around: Autumn (England: Brown Ale: 4.6% ABV)

Visual: Very dark brown. Moderate sized, short lasting brown to grey head.

Nose: Tobacco. Malt chocolate. Aniseed. Cinnamon. Slight wet twigs.

Body: Very lightly tart. Malt chocolate. Hazelnuts. Milky coffee. Figs. Praline. Slight plums as it warms. Tobacco.

Finish: Walnut cake. Malt chocolate. Coffee cake. Sultanas. Slight wet twigs. Figs. Port. Apples. Vanilla.

Conclusion: Once again Wild Beer Co’s seasonal range seems to get going as we hit the darker months, and with it the darker beers.

Despite the special twist of this beer being the foraged figs added, it is not hugely fig dominant – but they do their part. Instead the base brown ale does most of the heavy lifting here. The usual malt chocolate character is there, but here it is delivered in a nuttier fashion resulting in praline like flavours dominating the beer. It does feel slightly light in mouthfeel though – there is a slight tartness to the beer, probably brought in by the foraged ingredients, which seems to also slightly thin the beer. It isn’t a terrible trade off – you do get light apple notes beneath the darker figs and plum fruits, which balances out the flavour – but it is a slight minor off point.

The balance show in the mediating between the heavier tobacco notes up front, and the smoother barrel ageing influenced vanilla notes at the back, all resulting in a very comprehensive ranged brown ale. Frankly this is a beer that puts all that “Boring brown ale” stuff in its place.

If it managed to take the light tartness without the hit to the texture then this would have been perfect. As is it is a solidly complex brown ale that uses the special ingredients subtly and well. You can do a lot worse than that.

Background: Now this, the third release of Wild Beer Co which is made using locally foraged items, really caught my attention. For one thing its base beer is a brown ale, a nice style, oft accused of being boring, and not used enough these days. Next up is the special elements foraged – figs, fig leaves and fig branches. I’m a big figs fan, so that sounded right up my street. Finally, this has been aged in bourbon casks, which should give a bit extra smoothness and flavour. Overall something I was looking forwards to. Grabbed from Independent Spirit, this was drunk while listening to some Meshuggah. Still just basically going on a metal kick for drinking times.

Wild Beer Co: Rooting Around: Summer (England: Sour Ale: 6% ABV)

Visual: Yellowed lemon to apricot. Massive white head that settles to a more manageable level quickly.

Nose: Funky. Oats. Horse blankets. Slight floured dough. Lightly acidic. Rose petals.

Body: Tart. Lightly lemony. Flour. Slight wet wood. Vanilla. Acidic pear. Cherry late on, slight burn at back of the throat.

Finish: Wet wood and acidic lemon. Sherbet lemon to traditional lemonade after that. Gently acidic pears to perry. Slight cherry pocked biscuits. Sour black cherry late on,

Conclusion: I wasn’t sure what to expect for this one, and for the first half of the beer I wasn’t sure what I had got – however it kind of came together by the end.

Initially it seems a simple, mildly sour, Belgian yeast style funk-o-tron of a beer. Disclaimer: Funk-o-tron is not a real beer style. Yet. Give it time. Anyway, mixed light lemon to pear notes with a bit of funk to a mildly acidic back and some slight wet wood. It felt pretty generic in the sour category – not much to stand out in a beer that is very unusual in its set of ingredients and brewing process.

Late on you start to see the influence of those odd introductions, from rose petal aroma notes, to cherry pocket digestive notes, to more raw wood influence. It isn’t blatant, but there is a soft cherry and floral note to the beer showing what they were aiming for with it.

With beer with odd ingredients it can be hard walking the line – too blatant can overpower a beer with off notes – Of The Sea comes to mind for that flaw, so maybe it is best this takes the gentle touch. However if it is too subtle you might as well not use them at all.

Here, well the ingredients add a nice touch, but neither the base beer nor the odd twists really stand out – as a sour it is pretty meh. The extra notes are nice but don’t make it a must have.

A gentle sour that doesn’t really sell its gimmick, but does give it a bit of subtle extra depth. Ok, ya know, but unexceptional.

Background: Yes I know summer has been and gone. I’m behind the times as always. This is the second of the “rooting around” series of beers made with foraged local elements. In this case a sour beer using branches, buds, leaves and blossom from a cherry tree, then aged in Modus Operandi barrels. Wasn’t 100% sure this would work, but liked the cherry blossom imagery, and I’m a fan of Wild Beer Co in general so grabbed it from Independent Spirit. Noticed I had some Terrorvision on my mp3 player – used to be a big fan back in the 90s so slammed on some of their tracks as background drinking tunes.

Garage Beer Co: Wild Beer Co: Snake Fear (Spain: IIPA: 8% ABV)

Visual: Very cloudy apricot with an off white heads. Looks bitty on the pour, which dispersers into the haze when settled.

Nose: Dried apricot. Resinous, sticky hops. Mashed banana. Light sulphur. Dried mango. Crusty white bread. Some bitterness. Traditional lemonade. Peach melba.

Body: Thick. Oily hop feel. Kumquat and purple peppers. Quite savoury early on. Dried mango. Mashed banana. Traditional lemonade. Custard. Peach melba. Bitterness rises over time.

Finish: Purple peppers. Oily, resinous hops. Moderate bitterness. Creamy lemon and lime. Light sour cream.

Conclusion: On first pur of this I sighed – seeing the cloudy pour I realised it was a New England take on the IPA style – so I was fairly sure I knew what I was in for. Another beer of low bitterness, lots of fruit, not bad but so very overused at the moment. That is what I was thought. Nope. Nothing like that at all. Bad pre-judging Alcohol Aphorist.

This is full of thick hop oils and resinous character – “Dank” as the “Hip kids” say these days. Or maybe just people younger than me anyway. Hopefully actual kids aren’t drinking double IPAs. Single IPAs are the way to go until you are over 18, as is well and right. Also I don’t think the hip kids say “Hip kids” any more.

Anyway, apart from my age related breakdown – this starts slightly one note with savoury kumquat styling backing the resinous hops. This develops into a quite the range of dried fruit notes along with lighter citrus touches. Everything still feels heavy though – carries a lot of weight and sticky hop feel.

The thing is, the New England interpretation isn’t entirely absent either – there is a creamy character, the obvious visual aspect and the fruit character becomes recognisable banana and peach over time as they rise from the depths.

To my eyes it is the best thing to come from the New England IPA craze – it is influenced by it, but not beholden to it – takes the heavy, sticky hopped side of IPAs and matches it to the creamy NEIPA character.

An impressive creation of flavour and weight. If can find it, definitely try it.

Background: Now there are two things I tend to grab – Wild Beer Co stuff, and stuff from countries I’ve tried few or no beers from. So a Spanish brewery, Wild Beer collab was a must have. Plus the whole metal duck can pic was cool, if nothing to do with snakes nor fear. Unless you are afraid of ducks. Ducks are vicious shits so I can understand that. The can got a bit dented when being brought home from Independent Spirit – I had put it in with the Rodenbach Alexander and the wire cage around the cork had dented the can. I’m fairly sure the contents were fine, but decided to drink it as quickly as possible- just in case. It’s a hard life. Drunk while listening to Crossfaith – Zion – awesome, but I’m still disappointed I’ve not found a way to buy their Omen cover in the UK.

Wild Beer Co: Tepache (England: Sour Ale: 6% ABV)

Visual: Deep burnished gold with a small white head. No evident carbonation.

Nose: Cane sugar. Dried banana. Slight funky yeast. Vanilla toffee. Strawberry. Cinnamon. Fresh white bread.

Body: Tart and fresh. Pineapple. Lactose. Nan bread. Cinnamon. Grapefruit. Strawberry. Quite thick mouthfeel. Orange zest.

Finish: Slight smoke. Flour. Pineapple – in a juicy and a tart fashion. Grapefruit. Strawberry. Dried banana. Fresh white bread. Funky yeast. Slight cane sugar. Cheese puffs.

Conclusion: This is both very unlike most beers, even most wild yeast beers, and also a good show of why I am glad that Wild Beer keep doing their weird experiments – even if they don’t all pay off.

This is very fruit juice led, tart pineapple and grapefruit just bursting out; The texture though is much thicker than that tartness would make you expect. It has a much more traditional beery mouthfeel than most wild yeast beers, and it leads to a beery feel to a not very beery tasting beer. There is a very lactose thickness and it mixes with the sweeter flavours to make a yogurt dessert style second string of flavour. Sweet strawberry to cinnamon notes come out, with light, yeastie banana notes in there as well. These extra notes match the more beer like notes and held bridge the gape between them and the tarter flavours – in doing so it manages to avoid any dissidence between the two halves of the experience.

It builds up the more beer like notes over time – lots of funky yeast notes rising that take a heady yogurt and tart experience and turns it into a very good beer experience. It takes banana like hefeweizen characteristics, cane sugar like Belgian blond high notes, fruit that is too tart to even call to NZ hops, but instead fruit juice like pure flavour, all matched with Belgian Wit style spice use and a milk stout like mouthfeel. This is pretty much the most beer influenced non standard beer that a beer can be. At this point I am just seeing how many times I can say “beer” in a set of notes. A very unusual drink, a very good drink and one well worth trying.

Background: OK, this is another odd Wild Beer Co experiment- a beer made in the style of a Mexican drink that is fermented, but at very low alcohol – So they thought they would try a full on beer version of it. The original version is made from peel and rind of pineapples, piloncillo sugar and cinnamon. This is a beer that uses Mexican maize, wild yeast, cinnamon and cloves along with pineapple and lactose. While not all of their experiments work, I love that they do this weird stuff. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit again and drunk while listening to some excellent punk meets acoustic style tunes from Louise Distras. By the way, she is currently kickstarting to make a new album – so a signal boost – please check her out as I really want more music from her.

Wild Beer Co: Rooting Around: Spring (England: Spice/Herb/Vegetable: 3% ABV)

Visual: Very pale grain to yellow. Short lived thin white head. Clear body with small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Herbal. Mildly minty. Slight lemon.

Body: Wet wood. Some bitterness. Sage and onion. Fizzy feel. Slight chalk. Bready. Somewhat empty. Crushed leaves. Cardboard. Mild apricot. Watercress. Light tartness.

Finish: Wet wood. Slight cardboard. Wet. Leaves. Slight granite. Watercress. Lemongrass.

Conclusion: Not the best start for this year’s Wild Beer Co’s set of themed beers. Last years smoked range was hit and miss, but when it hit it hit very well. This, the first of the foraged elements made beers, is really very empty and lower than the weakest of the smoked beer range they did.

There is a dry pale base, and a bit of greenery and … Well a kind of watery taste I guess and …erm that’s it. It reminds me of the Brewdog vs Flying dog set of beers where they attempted a pre hop IPA, except without any of the intensity.

The most this seems to manage is a kind of brown bread and watercress style, with a touch of lemon backing, and is about as exciting as that sounds. And I mean not very if you had problem breaking that code.

Ok, I am being a bit too harsh – if you let it warm there is a very subtle fresh tartness there that rises up, but it is faint indeed. Also, for all they don’t do much with it, the base is very well brewed – dry, and well attenuated as a low abv beer – it is just that virtually nothing is added to that, be it hop, spice, flavours from the leaves, etc. They should take this base and use it for something with a bit more umph.

So, has just enough to save it from being a drain pour, or being added to the vile putrid filth tag here. It isn’t that bad, but is is very basic. Maybe some light lemon, light pineapple, but really doesn’t add enough to make it worth having

Just a very empty beer.

Background: Last year Wild Beer Co did four seasonal smoked and oaked beers. This year they seem to be doing four based on foraged elements close to their brewhouse. This, the spring entry, is a low abv, ultra pale ale made with leaves and buds of Beech and Linden trees, and a large percentage of rice in the mix. I was unsure how well this would work, but figured I’d give it a go – if it works out nice I always like a good, lower abv beer. Drunk while listening to the awesome Jack off Jill – Sexless Demons and Scars album.

Wild Beer Co: Chronos (England: Premium Lager: 5.8% ABV)

Visual: Clear yellow gold. Lots of small bubbled carbonation. Good sized white head that leaves suds.

Nose: Vanilla and butterscotch. Light cheese puffs. Palma violets. Clean. Soft orange sherbet.

Body: Sherbet orange and lemon. Light lime and kiwi. Chalky touch. Hop oils. Slight funky mature cheese. Palma violets. Slightly fizzy.

Finish: Hop oil sheen. Orange sherbet. Palma violets. Mature cheese. Apples.

Conclusion: It has always been true – a good lager takes a good long time to make. Here we have a been to add weight to that statement as this is a spot on, bretted up, foudre aged lager.

At the base you have a solid, if unexceptional, lager. It is playing with palma violet notes and a hop oil sheen that makes me think of the noble hopped European lagers. At this point it may not be out of the ordinary but it is still a lager that I wouldn’t push away – I could definitely enjoy it like this. On top of that comes a lovely cheese puff crisps to mature cheese solid character from, I presume, the brett yeast. Yet another layer on top of that is sherbety citrus fruit notes that sparkles, refreshes and excites.

It’s a three layer strategy of flavour and it works so well. The funkyness, unusually, is a grounding here – the citrus works the high notes and the clean noble style hops notes work the middle. Together it makes an intensely satisfying lager to drink. It’s like someone took a bohemian pilsner and added a bit of funk to it.

Fresh, easy to drink, but the brett has given a wonderful layered character to it. Lager is a much, and wrongly, maligned style. Shove this into an unbelievers hand and show how good they can be.

Wild Beer Co have had a week run for a while, for me at least – but this shows where their experimentation pays off. A top lager. A top beer. Fantastic.

Background: Another interesting one from Wild Beer co – this time a beer that has been lagered in Foudre and then Brettanomyces yeast added. Sounds fun. A top notch lager can be hard to find, and this sounded definitely interesting enough to give a shot. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit, broken open after watching the excellent Guardians Of The Galaxy 2, and drunk while listening to some Within temptation. So a good environment for hopefully enjoying a beer.

Wild Beer Co: Smoke ‘n’ Barrels: Winter (England: Smoked Dubbel: 7.4% ABV)

Visual: Very dark brown to black. Thin dark brown dash of a head. Some carbonation.

Nose: Sulphur and eggs. Lightly acidic. Bready. Malt chocolate. Smoke. Brown sugar. Creamy banana. Slightly dry.

Body: Sherbety feel up front into smoother back. Smoked meats. Brown sugar. Banana notes. Malt drinks. Slight chalk. Light tart grapes. Blackpool rock. Slight chocolate. Slight liquorice. Slight dry vinous influence.

Finish: Caramel. Smoked bacon. Hints of black cherry. Brown sugar. Light liquorice. Slight cherry pocked biscuits.

Conclusion: I came to this with a mix of nervousness and anticipation. Anticipation as Wild Beer Co’s Smoke beers have been improving with every release – and, better still, dark beers tend to carry smoke better in my experience. However there was nervousness as well – Liquorice seemed to be mentioned quite prominently in the description, and too much liquorice can really hurt a beer for me.

Thankfully the liquorice influence here is a small backing and rounding note. Instead this gives us something soothing, in a similar fashion to the chocolate and brown sugar touched Belgian dubbels but with a drier, slightly vinous base. This then has just a touch of Flemish bruin style being added to the mix. It results in an interesting mouthfeel and subtle cherry and tart grapes roundings to a very solid base.

The smoke, coming in as a sulphur to smoked bacon character is again a rounding note – giving extra weight and body to the beer. It is evident, but does not dominate. It feels a very balanced beer, all things considered. It even brings some banana and other fruity Belgian ester notes into the mix giving a lighter touch dusted over.

Probably could do with a touch of ageing – it can feel a tad chalky and fizzy at the moment, though that does settle to a smoother feel if held on the tongue for a moment. Any which way, could be polished with a few years I feel.

As it is it is a solid Dubbel, with lots of little tricks that make it atypical. Not an instant classic, but good, and I think it may have room to grow.

Background: I got an automated phone call today it said “With it being winter it is the perfect time to”. I have no idea what it said next. I hung up. Mainly because fuck automated phone calls, but also because it is Spring. If they get literally their first point wrong, why should I trust anything else they say? Anyway, this is a roundabout way of saying I finally got around to drinking the winter edition of Wild Beer Co’s smoked beers. I may have taken a while. It was a high abv dark beer, it was hardly like it was going to go off. Anyway this is *Deep breath time again* a Dubbel style beer, but with smoked malt, aged on liquorice smoked tart sloes in foudres that previously held red wine. This had been grabbed from Independent Spirit and drunk while listening to Bikini Kill. Only found out about them recently – angry and awesome music.

Wild Beer Co: Spicy Crowd (England: Spice Beer: 5% ABV)

Visual: Pale gold. Some carbonation. Moderate white bubbled head.

Nose: Sharp lime. Sulphur. Lime cordial. Damp bread. Bombay mix. Fresh nan bread. Mild garlic. Peppercorn sauce. Boiled eggs. Ginger.

Body: Lime. Pepper. Kiwi. Watery texture. Prickly hops and greenery. Lime cordial. Bready backing. Peppercorn. Boiled eggs. Light dried apricot.

Finish: Lime cordial. Lots of black pepper. Musty hop character. Dry feel. Chai spice. Mint leaves. Bready.

Conclusion: Ok, sometime a spiced beer is basically a big wet bag of spice, owing little to the beer, and lots to the spice. This is one such beer. Basically this tastes like spiced lime cordial mixed with an American Pale Ale. Not a very standard beer then. It is, however, hard to say which of the many spices is most dominant.

Initially a Bombay mix and a Thai spice style really push out in the aroma, with ginger developing over time. So, very much a mix of spiced curry house styles. The body though is more peppery and touched by greenery – less well defined but with more intense flavours. That is odd as the actual body feels watery in mouthfeel, which is a wild contrast to the more intense flavour.

Finally the finish is into a chai spice and mint leaves style – soothing night drink style to send you to sleep with. The only common thread between the three parts of the beer is the lime cordial used everywhere.

Beer wise, it has that dry APA character- bready and with slightly muggy hop bitterness, but little else. While I am not overly taken by this beer, for what they are doing the dry APA style seems a good choice. It makes the spice very visible and yet manages to have a body that doesn’t make it overpowering.

As a beer it just feels like a grab bag of spice with no real theme or coherent character – and the lime cordial notes are over present without adding that much. Not a horrible beer, but not really leading anywhere – just a lot of spice floating around.

Not the best show of what Wild Beer can do.

Background: So, the second of the beers Wild Beer Co put out to promote their crowdfunding for a new brewery. Again this was grabbed at Independent Spirit. This is the odder of the two beers, being a pale ale made with galangal, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, peppercorns and birds-eye chilli. As of such, I feel it is more representative of the odd stuff that Wild Beer co regularly comes out with. Anyway this was drunk while listening to more of the madcap, over the top metal that is Evil Scarecrow.

Wild Beer Co: Cloudy Crowd (England: IPA: 5.2% ABV)

Visual: Banana coloured cloudy body with lemon juice edges and apricot coloured core. Inch of moderate white head.

Nose: Banana soft sweets. Apricot skins. Milky. Moderate hop character and slight pineapple.

Body: Bitty hoppiness. Dried apricot. Guava. Good bitterness. Milky back. Thick fruit juice feel. Vanilla. Prickly hop character later on. Slight chalk. Kiwi.

Finish: Mango. Slight cardboard. Solid bitterness. Slight rock notes. Guava. Exotic fruit juice. Greenery. Kiwi.

Conclusion: There seems to be a run on the cloudier, slightly gritty bitterness, big fruitiness IPAs these days. Considering how many get called “New England” style, possibly that is the defining character of those beers. A quick google seems to indicate yes for the cloudiness, but none mention that slightly gritty bitter mouthfeel. Will have to continue investigating and compare with similar ones that come out.

So, how does this one compare to the others of the type I have encountered. Middling. For one, despite the can advertising it as a low bitterness IPA, it has a remarkably big bitter kick in the finish. Now, this is not a flaw by me, but considering how it pitches itself, it may be something you want to be aware of, depending on your preferred level of alpha acid. Anyway, while the high bitterness in the finish ain’t a bad thing by me, what I think is a strike against it is that the bitterness is quite gritty and rough – which is something that needs a bigger beer than this to pull off well.

The body is moderately fruity and juicy – not as big as a lot of this type, but reasonable – pretty satisfying with a solid bitter backing. The aroma and body don’t quite let the juiciness roam though – it feels slightly restrained; Solid but not showy. It gets its best show just between the swallow and the bitterness of the finish – in the air of that moment a nice fruitiness does rise to fill the gap. The restrain then doesn’t seem to come from the hops, which seem to do the job, but possibly from the body being a tad drier than normal – slightly more towards APA that a good IPA.

So – despite my criticisms it is decently done and decently fruity with solid bitterness. Not one of the best beers, but sits just above average but let down by the rough finish that rides roughshod over what the beer should do best. Even that flaw gets less over time as more fruitiness does come to the finish.

A nice little promotion piece but not a must have beer.

Background: I’ve been a fan of Wild Beer Co pretty much since they opened a few years ago. Not every beer has been a hit, but they have never been dull and have done lots of cool experimental beers. So I was interested to see that they have jumped on crowdfunding to build a new brewery. Hope it goes well for them. Their beers deserve wider exposure. Anyway, this little beer, part of a two pack of cans promoting the whole “Invest” thing was grabbed at independent spirit. At a slight criticism, while they were in their cardboard box it was very easy to see info on investing – but pretty hard to see details on what the heck the two beers actually where. Anyway … this was drunk while listening to some of the spektrmodule music podcast for a varied set of tunes.

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