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Wild Rose’s Wild, Unexplained Beer

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I will say right up front I picked up this beer because I was curious as to what they were up to with this beer. The beer is one of Wild Rose’s Rare Series (I can’t say the latest since this week they just released a new one – a Berliner Weisse). The called it “Farmhouse White” and admitted to using a lager yeast, red wine barrel-aging and brettanomyces. Not your usual combination. In fact it is rather ambitious and so the risk of overdoing it becomes real.

Just what is this beer supposed to be? I didn’t know. Normally a light-coloured farmhouse ale might be called a Saison or a Biere de Garde. But this beer doesn’t fit those bills. So maybe the name is appropriate. It was just kind of frustratingly vague. Before I opened the bottle I simply wasn’t sure what to expect.

And then I opened the bottle. This is what I found.

It is pale yellow with a slight haze to it. It forms a thin white head, but nothing notable. In general it looks like a bit of a lifeless Witbier. The aroma starts with a light lactic sourness and a grainy pilsner malt. I also pick up an edge of peppery spiciness and some undefined earthy funkiness.

The flavour starts with an earthy mustiness, some light grainy sweetness and a lemon tart character. The middle sharpens even more and becomes noticeably sour. It mostly has a kettle sour character, meaning it lacks rich complexity, but then adds a fresh citrus and peach fruit accent. In the undertones I pick up some earthy, vaguely musty character. The linger is cleanly sour mixed with musty earth and a sprig of lemony citrus and fresh grass.

I finish the glass as intrigued as I began it. I still not sure I understand what they were going for, but the beer is fascinating. It is part sour ale, part witbier, part saison, part lambic.I don’t get a lot of wood character in it. The Brett only plays a supporting role offering a vague earthiness. That may shift over time.

I may be getting caught in an effort to pigeon-hole the beer, which isn’t fair. If I ask myself whether it is an enjoyable beer, I think my answer is “yes”. It is light, refreshing and original. So on that score it succeeds.

I just wish I had a better sense of what they wanted to do with the beer so I could better work out whether the various desired flavour components came through. I appreciate the beer, but feel a bit at a loss around whether it does what it is supposed to do.

Or maybe I should just relax, let go and appreciate it for what I experience it to be. Seems like a good strategy.

1 comment to Wild Rose’s Wild, Unexplained Beer

  • Ahh yes.. the beers that confuse reviewers 🙂 Usually they are also the ones that don’t help themselves because of the fact that they dont quite tell you what you are looking for.

    With the way you explain this, it does sound like an interesting beer to try but after their Cherry Barrel aged … I really just wanted to stop there because I didn’t want to be confused anymore.


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