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Compurgating Wild Beer Co.

I grew a little bored of tasting sessions and posts for beers after the full voracity of the Advent Calendar saga. However, occasionally some evenings deserve special mention and credit, as do the beers sampled at such times.

For this reason, I’ve decided to write up my experience tasting a box of Wild Beer Co’s creations the other evening. Wild Beer Co. were a brewery that created a lot of hype around blogs and the social media long before their beers ever seemed to hit the shelves. Being the miserable cynic that I often am, this made me sceptical, and initially resentful, towards them. I find it shallow and na├»ve when I see fellow enthusiasts or bloggers hyping up a brewery or brew so much before tasting has even occurred. To me, it is just for those that are easily fooled into marketing schemes and ploys; the sort of humans you would find switching insurance every 3 months because a new species of talking animal told them to in the Coronation Street break.

I don’t blame the brewery for this; in fact I admire their shrewd use of social media in creating the buzz. I love their packaging design and mission statement and my interest too was tweaked by the marketing. I’ve written before about my love for Millstone Brewery but my regret/admiration that they don’t even have so much as a Twitter page. They’ve still been consistently making bitter and hoppy pale ales to rival many of these new “craft” brews without fuss for many a year. Still, perhaps another post dedicated to that particular subject will come on a different day.

For now, let me just recount my only experience with Wild Beer so far. It came in the form of their Modus Operandi, a beer I had seen frequently praised over Twitter, often under the heading of “my favourite beer this year,” or “my current go-to beverage.” Through this high praise, I chose to fork out for a bottle at Port Street at their birthday celebrations recently. Alas, I had the beer towards the end of the night, when taste had stopped mattering and my cynicism was in full flow. I remember not being overly impressed, but then I couldn’t tell you now what it tasted like at all.

Anyhow, the reason for a tasting session arose through a competition I “won” (I was the only entry) through Beer Ritz’s website. A box of Wild Beer landed in the office at work one day, much to my surprise and merriment. Two bottles each of Wild Beer’s Fresh, Scarlet Fever and Madness IPA. I was thrilled to get the chance to sample these beers and did so over the course of a single evening, leading to this tasting event.

Fresh – 5.5%

I believe this bottle to be from Batch 1. Drink Fresh – Don’t Age, this beer commands, and I enjoy the authority. It smells of your favourite barley wine mixed with rose wine, sticky sweet with a buttery biscuit base and a drizzle of maple syrup over it. There’s no doubting when this beer is tasted that the name affects your judgement. It’s fresh. Crisp and clean are the only adjectives that spring to mind, like a freshly picked lettuce leaf. This is barbeque drinking beer for the more assertive. It doesn’t need the intellectual to break down the flavours here. It’s a complicated flavour that just marries together into a unity so simple but clean… fresh! I love it.

Scarlet Fever – 4.8%

Sometimes I redraft my tasting notes but for Scarlet Fever I would like to present them in their rawest form as written at the time, as I enjoy seeing my initial thoughts: Much darker than Fresh, as it’s a gorgeous crimson, thick, red wine-esque beaut, my initial scent of this beer made me think I'd love it as it smelt of a big, hoppy American red ale, one of my favourite styles. But immediately this descends into something else, rather peculiar, I can't quite put my finger on it. It's one of those occasions I need a second opinion present to help and just don't have one. It's an almost meaty quality, like Chinese pork, yes honey and ginger pork, with a definite lambic cherry finish. It's exciting and strange. The taste is massive and crazy. Dark, sweet, cherry like fruits with a great boozy undertone yet ridiculously smooth. There's so much great flavour but, with a strength of just 4.8%, there's no burn or hurt in quaffing. Again, the hop hit is a zingy bitter finish that isn't dry and avoids giving you heartburn (as some would claim.) I can't think of another beer available that is comparable. Terrific and original stuff.

Madness IPA – 6.8%

This doesn’t make a great initial impression. There’s little on the nose but a strange acridic underlay that is close to being unpleasant. But taste wise, it is anything but. This has all the character of a modern IPA - bouncy citrus hops, lovely tropical fruitness and sweet, tongue tickling bitterness, like a pineapple smoothie made on a beach shack in the Bahamas. It sings along your throat and laps against your tongue repeatedly with such cleanliness. I forgot for a moment that I was drinking a "Wild" beer so don't mind commenting that there is something sour in the aftertaste that is pleasant, because I wasn't searching for it. But this is one of my favourite beers from this year, thusfar.

I am a cynic. I’ve tried to change, but why deny who I truly am? I frequently look for the negatives without due consideration. I was wrong to doubt this brewery just because of the foresight of some on social media. I am pleased that my last blog post was proven wrong in the very next post, that subjective thoughts are still welcome in this beery world of ours. Congratulations Wild Beer Co. on a stellar start. Long may this continue.
And special thanks to Beer Ritz once more. If I learnt nothing else from this experience it's that getting my knickers out will always pay dividends.




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