Wild Beer Co
“Wild Beer means using Brettanomyces and mixed fermentations. You can be half a step away from normality and be a bit wild."
We met with Brett Ellis, co-founder of The Wild Beer Co, who welcomed us to his brewery, based on a farm in rural Somerset. Both were bored with the beers that were available at the time and felt a desire to challenge the perceptions of beer. Charged with their love for fermentation, barrel-ageing and, most of all, flavour, Wild Beer was born in 2012. Back then, when they started out, the only equipment they had was 3 oak barrels and some manual bottling gear.
Barrel-ageing and blending is at the heart of what Wild Beer does. They wait patiently for the beers in their barrel library to take on the nuances of flavour. The new batch infuses with flavours in the wood from previous liquor. They use a lot of different old barrels that have been used for wine, whisky, sherry, rum, port, tequila and brandy.
Time can reveal and raw out the complex flavours from barrels. Wood and barrel-ageing are the medium that turns an ordinary beer into a whole new, multi-layered taste experience.
Wild Beer is very proud to brew beer using time-honoured traditions. Important proof of this are the wooden barrels and foudres (big oak barrels, with a huge tradition in Belgium) which allow for genuine flavour.
Somerset culture and lifestyle also plays a part in its character. “We’re in a slow, sleepy place, that’s reflected in the beers and the approach we take to make beers”, says Brett. “We take our time, let our beers age in oak barrels for as long as needed, sometimes up to 3 or even more years.”
One beer Brett is fond of is POGO, available in both cans and kegs for The SUB. Inspired by his years growing up in Hawaii, Brett took the fruit juice he drank, POG (Passionfruit, Orange and Guave) and IPA to create this fruity hybrid. For Brett, one of the best things about brewing is expressing himself and bringing people together.
“Making Beer is very similar to making food. Life happens around food, life happens around beer.A product that leaves the brewery amazing, all the way to arriving at someone’s house. That’s a difficult thing and having a partner like Beerwulf is key to getting a great drink into the beerlovers hands.”
With everything Wild Beer stands for, it’s no surprise that there’s a lot to try, covering a whole range of tastes and flavours. From fresh hops in Fresh to even umami in Yokai. All of them are as interesting as the next and very much worth trying!