BEERS FOR SPRING 2016 We've launched three new beers for Spring.

SLEEPING LEMONS EXPORT | 6%

Taking Sleeping Lemons, our prevered lemon gose, overseas meant taking a little longer before it got to thirsty drinkers glasses so we increased the ABV and bottle size to suit such a voyage. The result is a bigger, beefier gose with sweetness from the extra malt and alcohol with the same acidity and lemon hit. Where Sleeping Lemons tasted of Victorian Lemonade - Sleeping Lemons Export tastes like Lemon Meringue Pie. 

POGO | 4%

A keg and cask only release, a refeshing pale ale which is packed with Brett's favourite fruits from his ancestral home of California - Passion fruit, Orange, Guava and Orange! With both juice and zest being used it was only fair to mention orange twice... A riot of fruity flavours and a sessionable strength mean POGO is the perfect glass to sit in your favourite beer garden spurring on the coming sun with every sip.

SMOKE 'N' BARRELS - SPRING | 4%

Smoke 'n' Barrels - Spring is the beginning of our seasonal smoked beer range with one due every season (more to come on this later). The beer uses malt smoked in house with our very own purpose built smoker. Unlike the cheesy/bacon beers of Bamburg there is a delicate and refined sweetness imparted by not using beech wood but by burning cherry wood, rosemary and tyme.  

Beer Advocate review - by Brian Spencer

Wild Beer Company

From the Source by Brian Spencer | Dec 2015 | Issue #107

Wild Beer Co. co-founders Andrew Cooper, left, and Brett Ellis.

Surrounded by hundreds of wine and whisky casks packed on metal trestles, his voice muffled by bottles of Madness IPA rattling down the bottling line at a 1,900-per-hour clip, Andrew Cooper sizes up a massive vat of pressed grapes just delivered to Wild Beer Co., at no cost. They’re courtesy of a vineyard near the company’s rural facility amidst the rolling pastures of Somerset, England.

“We’re trying to capture the naturally occurring wild yeast strains from these grape skins to see if we can get positive flavor out of them,” says Cooper, who co-founded the brewery in 2012 with California native Brett Ellis.

Ellis, the head brewer, elaborates on plans for the grape husks. “They’re for a beer called Squashed Grape, which will be a rustic, sour Saison that has to be made using two different fermentations—an acid fermentation and a yeast fermentation—then blended and matured.”

This careful, considered way of doing things—harvesting native yeasts, implementing uncommon ingredients, blending, aging, experimenting—is what makes this remote operation one of the most forward-thinking craft breweries England has ever seen.

Two Guys in a Pub
The co-founders first crossed paths at Bristol Beer Factory in the UK, where Ellis was a brewer and Cooper, a certified beer sommelier, worked in business development. They hit it off, and a short time later the genesis of what would become Wild Beer Co. happened exactly where you might expect.

“We were at a pub and just started talking about how it seemed like the time was right for a real barrel-focused brewery,” says Ellis. “We asked ourselves what we thought the market was going to look like in five years, and the answers were drastically different from the current market.”

So in June 2012 the pair visited another Bristol brewery, Arbor Ales, to brew the first batch of Modus Operandi (called Modus Vivendi in the US), a sophisticated blend aged for at least three months and made from dark, Old Ales matured in red wine and bourbon barrels infused with wild Brettanomyces yeasts. Wild Beer Co. landed four months later at Lower Westcombe Farm, where they work along cheesemakers Westcombe Dairy at a site both producers have already outgrown.

It’s an adventure finding their farm, a property discreetly signposted by a chalked wooden plank reading: “Westcombe Beer & Cheese Shop Open.” The winding lane on which it’s located is wide enough for just one car at a time—take a wrong turn and you might end up stuck in a muddy cow pasture.

“There are a lot of open spaces and lush green hills,” says Ellis. “It’s easy to get lost around here, so I try to make beers in which one can also get lost, that draw you in, and that require or at times demand your attention, much like our local area does.”

Brewing Wild
The area indeed figures prominently into just about everything happening at the brewery, from what Cooper calls “hearty” strains of wild yeasts and bacteria, harvested from nearby farms and orchards, to beers brewed with local ingredients like Somerset apple juice and foraged fruits. Few UK breweries embrace their terroir quite like this, and none have yet staked a large part of the business on the type of bold styles, techniques and tastes in which Wild Beer specializes.

“We know we make beers that many people have never tasted,” says Cooper. “We’re not trying to make beers to anyone’s style guidelines or thoughts on what a beer should taste like—we’re making stuff that excites us. … We love ingredients, and we are inspired by flavor. We always start with flavor, then work backwards.”

That approach has produced some interesting brews. Take, for instance, Shnoodlepip, a sour ale brewed with pink peppercorns and Somerset spelt, aged for four months in red wine barrels with Saison and Brett yeasts, and completed with hibiscus flowers and passion fruit. In collaboration with Scotland’s Fyne Ales, Wild Beer used mint, wild yeasts and cucumbers to create Cool as a Cucumber. Caramel malts, cacao nibs and Cornish sea salt define Millionaire, a Milk Stout.

A(nother) Leap of Faith
Last September, 70 miles up the road in the affluent spa town of Cheltenham, Wild Beer Co. embarked on another venture requiring something of a daredevil mentality. Wild Beer at Jessop House, set within a beautifully renovated, three-floor Georgian townhouse in the center of town, is the brewery’s first bar-restaurant. “It’s a big step for Cheltenham,” says Cooper. “It’s not like anything there before, not just with the beers, but the whole thing.”

The “whole thing” is a classy, grown-up pub and showcase for the Wild Beer ethos. There are, of course, draft beers flowing from 20 taps pressurized individually by a custom-built flux capacitor, the first of its kind in the UK. Clever decorative elements like hanging gramophones, fantastical animal illustrations by Bath-based artist Ben Rothery, and feature walls fashioned from Wild’s retired aging barrels are modern and refreshing. The biggest surprise, however, is a food program completely uncharacteristic of beer-centric venues like this.

Here the menus are more contemporary fine-dining than pub grub: think ox cheeks slow-braised in Modus Operandi, pan-roasted Ibérico pork loin, confit rabbit, even a cured and pickled fish board. “We’ve tried to reflect what we do in the brewery; there’s nothing quick on here,” says managing director Richard Kilpatrick. He also admits that Jessop House needs time to resonate with a local populace largely unfamiliar with the beer and food styles it champions.

“We’ve got a bit of a sell to do on the lovely folk of Cheltenham to get them to understand what we’re about, but we’re not going to sell ourselves down the river on anything we do,” Kilpatrick says. “We don’t compromise on quality—it’s all about the process of the ingredients, and the passion and culture of everything we do.”

A busy 2015 for Wild Beer Co.—adding a canning line, launching the restaurant, increasing production—continues with plans underway for a satellite brewery about three miles from the existing one. Once completed, Cooper plans to move the high-volume production of Wild’s non-barrel-aged beers to the new building, then to fill the freed-up space with more barrels.

“We’ve barely scraped the surface on the things we want to do,” he says. “What excites me most about the new brewery is what it’ll allow us to do here, when this facility becomes completely focused on wood, barrel aging and using different techniques and different wild yeast strains—that, to me, is the ultimate in making beer.”

Brewhouse
25-hectoliter (15 UK bbl) brewing system
4 24-hectoliter (15 UK bbl) unitank fermentors
7 60-hectoliter (36 UK bbl) unitank fermentors
1 24-hectoliter (15 UK bbl) bright tank
350 aging barrels

On Tap
Somerset Wild: Up front sparkle and a delicate white-wine acidity and essence characterize one of Wild Beer’s signature brews. 5% ABV
Sourdough: Loosely based on a Berliner Weisse, this beer ferments and matures for four months in oak barrels with Brett and a 58-year-old sourdough yeast strain. 3.6% ABV
Modus Operandi: Imagine drinking from a bourbon cask filled with sparkling Merlot, sour cherries dipped in wood-aged liqueur, and a handful of cocoa. 7% ABV
Shnoodlepip: An intense mélange of dried fruit aromas and flavors commingle in this dangerously sessionable annual collaboration with NZ and UK breweries. 6.5% ABV
Evolver IPA: Fermented with nothing but Brett, this funky, mildly bitter IPA tastes of grapefruit sprinkled with graham cracker crumbs. 5.8% ABV
Ninkasi: Wild Beer produces this seductive Saison with locally sourced apple juice and makes it sing with a second Champagne yeast fermentation. 9% ABV

WILD BEER – BY LUCIENNE SIMPSON

Cheltenham beer enthusiasts must be pinching themselves right now. Not only do they have Favourite Beers to stock up their home supplies, and also Sandford Park Alehouse to pull up a pew and drink their beers in correctly branded glassware, but at the end of last year Wild Beer Co made itself a home in the town...

Click here to read the rest from Lucienne  http://uniquemediagroup.co.uk/magazine/wild-beer-lucienne-simpson/

FINDING THE PERFECT MATCH

We’re driven, and often inspired, by the search for perfect partnerships between beer and food.

Wild Beer Co. founders Brett and Andrew both come from food working backgrounds, their lust for flavour has influenced all the beers they have brewed but has also given them a passion for beer and food matching.

We want to encourage great beer on to more dinner tables and show how you can use the variety of flavours in different beers to enhance both the drinking and the dining experience. We love going out and talking about our beers, but enjoy it a whole lot more if we get to go and eat some amazing food, lovingly prepared by a talented chef. 

Some of the standout pairings we’ve come across include:

  • Ninkasi with Westcombe Cheddar cheese
  • Bliss and Flinty Red’s Lamb Tagine
  • Shnoodlepip and a berry tart from the 3 Horseshoes
  • Cool as a Cucumber with Westcombe Ricotta
  • Madness IPA and a Mexican salad
  • Modus Operandi with Roast Duck. 

Sitting down with a chef and thinking about some new pairings also gets the creative juices flowing for new beer ideas, as it gets us thinking about different flavour combinations.

EPICALLY DIFFERENT

One of the reasons we chose Westcombe Dairy as the home of Wild Beer Co. was our love of cheese.

We have been fortunate to make some great friends in the cheese world and two of our closest make amazing unpasteurised Caerphilly cheeses.

Whilst both of the cheeses, Gorwydd and Duckett's share many similarities, they are also distinctly different. We love to pair our beer with cheese, indeed before we were brewing full time we did a tasting with the Westcombe Dairy cheese and our prototype beers.

When we are pairing beers to cheese we look for similar intensities of flavour, and good complimentary – or in some cases contrasting – flavours. The Epic and Caerphilly pairing is definitely a complimentary one. The cheese and the beer both have savoury and citrus layers of flavour to them, and it’s these similar flavours that make this pairing so good.

Epic Saison has two distinctive characters, one from its signature hop, the other from the yeast strain. The Sorachi Ace hop has a distinctly tangerine citrus edge to it and the saison yeast has a spicy, earthy character. These are the flavour components of the beer that make this such a well-balanced pairing. The Epic is a dry and effervescent beer due to its hungry yeast and this aspect helps refresh the palette as the carbonation scrubs out the creamy texture.

MAKE YOUR OWN WILDEBEEST BEERAMISU

Beer and dessert in a glass. It doesn’t get much better than this.

One of our favourite things to make is Beeramisu, and with Wildebeest it is a taste sensation. Wildebeest is our dessert in a glass, a journey through rich layers of liquid pleasure. Enjoy it with this spin on a classic pud!

Here’s how to create your own Beeramisu culinary delight:

Ingredients 

150 ml single cream
4 tbsp icing sugar
250 mascarpone
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 bottle of Wildebeest
20-24 sponge fingers
Good quality dark chocolate (frozen)

Method 

  1. Whip the mascarpone, 100ml of Wildebeest and vanilla extract. 
  2. Whip the cream with 3 tbsp of icing sugar until evenly blended.
  3. Fold in the mascarpone mixture. 
  4. Dip the sponge fingers in the rest of the Wildebeest and use them to line the base of four serving glasses (breaking them into shorter lengths if necessary to fit the glasses)
  5. Spoon or pipe over a layer of the mascarpone mixture. Repeat layering the dipped sponge fingers and mascarpone mix until you reach the top of the glasses. Chill for 20 minutes before serving.
  6. Grate the frozen chocolate over the top.

WHAT'S ALL THIS SOUR BEER STUFF?

As we are based at a dairy, a favourite analogy is that "sours" are to the beer world what yogurt is to dairy.

It's beer that's been intentionally spoiled by good bacteria.

We love sour beers, their unrivalled complexity and nuances make them the most exciting and engaging styles of beer to brew and to drink.

Sour beers have long been a part of the brewing tradition. Indeed before the advent of refrigeration and advances in the science of fermentation in the mid-nineteenth century, almost all beer was, to varying degrees, sour. The sour comes from lactic acid bacteria during the fermentation process, with further complexity from strains of 'wild' yeast.

Brewing today is often romanticised by highly paid marketeers, They tell you that beer is a natural artisan product, but more often than not it is a very industrial process with highly automated machines and button pushers doing the work. The romance and the art of brewing our beers come through in a very different way when using the extraordinary uncontrollable wild yeasts and bacteria.

Instead of, as in traditional ale making, fermenting solely with sacchromyces yeast we could also add our strains of bacteria and put the beer into oak casks to mature and sour. Bacteria gobble up sugars in the beer and convert them into acids, like the ones in Granny Smith apples and lemons. The microcritters also churn out a smorgasbord of flavours and aromas. The result is a brew that has all the complexity of a fine wine and a delicious sour zing. We are embracing the time-honoured Belgian art of deliberately infecting beer with the same “wild” bugs that generations of our predecessors so painstakingly eradicated. The result: pleasingly sour, food-friendly beer, mysteriously complex and engaging.

There's wild yeast and bacteria everywhere, especially here in Somerset with so many orchards nearby, when you make a happy home for them in your brewery they just show up and spontaneously ferment — and sour — a beer. We have painstakingly experimented with locally occurring natural yeasts from the air and on local wild fruit to be able to develop our own strain of "wild" yeast to use in a number of our sour beers in the future. Another of our experiments has been around the use of the Hobbs House Bakery sourdough culture, the beer 'Sourdough' is a homage to the historical relationship between beer and bread.