A long overdue catch up:
Almost a year on from our last blog post, it is time we gave you a proper insight into where we are with our wild fermenting journey.
October saw our second keg release of Running Beer. This was a blend of several barrels which were fermented with our locally sourced house culture, for six to eight months. Over the winter we released a pair of beers which were fermented with wild cider lees in individual barrels from a single wort. These formed our second and third forays into the cider and perry world with cider maker, Tom Oliver. The first release was Saison Lees. This single barrel fermentation had produced farmhouse ale characteristics which were complemented by dry hopping with our one of our favourite European varieties. It was released after a month in bottle to showcase the fresh hops, but has evolved dramatically in bottle and now has some assertive Brettanomyces funk. The second barrel was initially more challenging, showing aromas vaguely reminiscent of sour milk. Despite that, it maintained an odd allure and we decided to allow 6 months of conditioning in bottle before release. The beer was lighter and more subtle than its sister beer, so was christened Spectre Sister.
We keep all our barrels and maturing bottles at ambient temperature as we hope to encourage seasonality and the influence of nature into every beer we produce. The local environment and weather are crucial in helping us to produce an ever changing and hopefully endlessly interesting series of releases and vintages.
In November we blended our third batch of Running Beer, which was bottled February 2018 after three months of maturation as a blend. Predictably, the cold weather descended and bottle conditioning ticked along slowly over three months. This batch is a blend of three barrels, from three brews produced in February, March and April of 2017.
We will also soon be releasing a bottled Vatted Porter, brewed with Tiley’s Brewery, based half a mile up the road from us at The Salutation Inn, Ham. The pub is very close to our hearts, not just as it’s a fantastic local, but it’s also where Jonny works as Head (and sole) Brewer. So all in all a pretty obvious choice for a dual effort.
The porter was brewed in January 2017 and fermented in our coolship before spending just over a year in a single oak barrel with our house culture. The result is vinous, sour and rich, with notes of dried fruit, cocoa and coffee.
At some point this year we will be releasing our first spontaneously fermented beer. It is a blend of three barrels, from brews produced over the winter of 2016/2017. Bottled mid April, it is still a way off release but the warm weather will be helping it along well.
Happily, we have amassed enough stock to do a handful of events this summer. We will be holding a tasting called Blurring Boundaries at Small Bar (12:30 pm) on Saturday 23rd June with Tom Oliver, before hot-footing it to the main event at The Old Market Assembly to pour our beers alongside some of the worlds finest cider producers.
In July we will have a one-off release at Cotteridge Wines for their birthday celebration. Currently bubbling away is a small barrel of Running Beer, refermenting a not insignificant dose of local plums.
Also in July, we will be pouring beer at Left Handed Giant’s ‘Little Summer Beer Bash’ at their brewery in Bristol.
To finish off the summer we will be heading to Belgium for BXL BeerFest, and showcasing our beers alongside some of our favourite brewers.
Gen and Jonny