beer reviews bottled beer

Magical Mystery Pour #4: Blubus Maximus

Magical Mystery Pour logo.This sour blueberry beer is the fourth and final beer suggested to us by Dina (@msswiggy) and is the result of a collaboration between London’s Beavertown and Somerset’s Wild Beer Co.

Dina says:

I’m convinced this is a medicinal tonic, may its healing powers grant you great health. It’s the bay leaf that really makes this beer. It’s a bit like a carbonated smoothie, but not as sweet. I couldn’t decide if I wanted a bit more blueberry from it, or if it was perfect as it is. I’m no brewer – I trust Wild Beer with my life.

Blubus Maxiumus: cap wax.We paid £11.50 for a 750ml bottle from Beer Gonzo. The packaging is more Wild Beer Co than Beavertown being screen-printed and sealed with bright blue wax. Its ABV is 5.5% and there is no foundation style, as such, as their website explains:

We made a base beer out of spelt and buckwheat and infused bay leaves to give some gentle spice, the beer has been fermented with the Wild Beer Co’s own strain of wild yeasts. After fermentation we have added more than a ton of Blueberries.

We really didn’t know what to expect other than that, foolishly, we thought it might be blue, and were also bracing ourselves for some extreme funky sourness.

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Saisons Pt 5: Smiling Somerset

This is the first single brewery post in our series of saison taste-offs, in which we consider two beers from Somerset’s Wild Beer Company.

Back in 2012, the Wild Beer Co were brand new and making waves thanks to savvy use of social media and a compelling story: they planned to harvest the same wild yeast that ferments Somerset scrumpy cider and use it to produce British beer with a Belgian twist. We first tried what was then their flagship, Epic Saison, in Bristol and loved it, not least because, believe it or not, there weren’t many UK-brewed saisons around back then.

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Epic Saison from Somerset

Detail of the Wild Beer Co logo.

We don’t know much about the Wild Beer Co. other than what we’ve picked up on Twitter, from their website and from other people’s blog posts, but the very idea of a brewery based in Somerset with the following philosophy blows our minds:

By adding a Wild 5th ingredient or process to our beers we are giving you a truly memorable drinking experience… Some of our beers will be aged in oak to allow the soft vanilla and rich tannins to help mature the beer, others fermented with wild yeast strains to add layers of flavour and complexity to the beer.

We are painfully aware, however, that many new generation breweries fail to live up to their own hype — though we’re not clever enough to entirely resist their allure, big ideas and nice branding aren’t everything — and so, seeing Wild Beer Co’s beer on offer in Bristol, approached with a little caution.

Thankfully, Epic Saison (5%, keg) was a triumph. First, it had that very distinctive yeast character (orange and lemon peel, exotic spices) we know from Dupont and Van Klomp, perhaps with the ‘pear drop’ channel turned up a notch; followed by a surprising, pleasing level of dry, chalky bitterness. After several days of ‘serious’ beer drinking, it was like a hard reset for the palate (© Simon H Johnson), reaching into every corner to shut down the systems before rebooting them. With steel toe-caps.

Beers like this — clean (but not too much so…), intelligently conceived, and distinctive without being silly — go some way to convincing us that homegrown ‘European-style’ beers might one day displace at least some of those weirdly cheap and usually superior imports.

We rather liked Butcombe’s flagship Bristol ‘craft beer’ pub the Colston Yard, by the way: their own Rare Breed, all but poisonous in bottles, tasted great there, and it was fascinating to watch earnest students working their way through bottles of Cantillon in a sort of inverted-macho drinking game.