You always remember your first.
Not that this is Working Title’s first beer. Heck, in the two years they were in the ‘gypsy brewing’ category, they brewed sixty beers, averaging more than two beer releases a month. These guys have been around the brewhouse a few times.
But this is the first wild beer that Working Title have brought out, and releasing it into the world brings them great joy. Mixed culture fermentation is one of Mark’s favourite things: “It’s science exploded by art; an amalgamation of patience, biochemistry, hard work, fastidiousness and prescience.”
The base beer - made with a complex malt bill and aged whole cone hops* and fermented clean in stainless steel - was made to be just the right kind of home for the right little beasts and bugs to live in before being transferred to ex-Tempranillo French oak barrels. Between the brettanomyces already in the barrel and the lactobacillus and pediococcus the WT guys added, there were plenty of microbes all too happy to turn this beer into something special. Fast forward 12 months,** and they’d done just that.
This one did a number on my senses; as I sniffed it, my brain kept telling me I was smelling red wine. I don’t know if Tempranillo brought some aroma to the party, or if I’ve had enough brett-infected red wines that the brett brought the suggestion of red wine. But I’ll tell you, it’s strange when your eyes tell you you’re drinking a pale beer and your nose tells you it’s a Tempranillo.
Anyway, that leather and dried apricot ceased to be the main thing on my mind when I took my first sip - it was overtaken by a honeyed character, a complex fruitiness and a sourness that spread right across the tongue and didn’t stop until it reached the very back. By the time a little dried peach joined in as well, we had ourselves a party.
Looks golden. Tastes sour. Feels wild.
- Golden Sour