As part of their fifth Woods Of The North event during Good Beer Week 2021, 3 Ravens again took the opportunity to invite attending brewers to collaborate on a barrel-aged, blended release. Woods Of The North II features a variety of mixed culture beers from 3 Ravens, Dollar Bill and Future Mountain that were married together for three months before being bottle conditioned in magnums (and only in magnums!). The component beers brought together include a rye Belgian saison aged in ex-pinot noir barrels from Dollar Bill, a golden sour from Future Mountain, and a sour wheat beer from two of 3 Ravens' different barriques.
If you went to 3 Ravens’ celebration of all things barrel-aged, you may have been one of the lucky ticket holders who took one of the 300 magnums home; if not, there's a limited number available through the brewery's website. Speaking from experience, if you've got a sharehouse full of people experiencing their fourth lockdown in a year, it's a very fun thing to crack and share around.
Unsurprisingly given the trio of breweries involved, WOTN II is an incredibly nuanced, drinkable and harmonious beer. Flavour-wise, the subtle blend of fruit in the beer sits very close to wine; the breweries reference orange wine but I also found it quite close to some chardonnays where notes of tropical fruit like pineapple and papaya blend into more perfumey and citrus flavours. The saison section of the beer comes through too, adding more estery, spicy and clove-like characters against the fruity backdrop. But it's not only the flavours where complexity lies – the texture is at once vinous and gripping while also quite dry and with a mineral quality that really drives home the beer's quaffability and makes you both glad it's sold in a magnum and wishing you had fewer housemates.