I’ve had the very good fortune to watch the development of the Wild Hop from it’s embryonic idea: http://adnams.co.uk/about/news/beer-news/hop-to-it-adnams-needs-you/ through to the finished article out of the cask. If I was Fergus and the crew, I’d declare this one a winner and put it on my schedule of seasonal beers every year!
Rather selfishly (and also because I live a good 150-odd miles away) I kept all of my cascade hop harvest to myself and put the lot in my Fresh Hop Cascade Pale Ale – which I’ll review soon.
Next year, when I hope to have a ton more hops, I might well contribute too…
Anyway. I had the singular good fortune to be in Southwold when Wild Hop was available on the pumps. I had a pint of it in the Sole Bay Inn with a lovely lunch – a lunch in which my children behaved like angels, too. (they normally do, to be fair. Just rather noisily…)
Wild Hop arrived in a nice hoppily-hazy style, with a good lasting head and an orangey-copper sort of colour about it. The nose wasn’t wildly hoppy (if you’ll excuse the pun) but I wouldn’t have expected anything else…god knows it’s difficult enough to get a reliable hefty hop aroma into a cask beer when using named “C” varieties. But the aroma was hoppily enticing enough to get me all excited, stop taking notes and just drink the pint.
The taste was typically Adnams – a lovely fruity note from the malt and the Adnams house yeast (I might buy a polypin of their bitter one day, just to try and harvest enough yeast to brew a cheeky Adnams clone myself!) and then the hops came marching in:
Wow. What a whirl of hops – multiple different hop notes vying for attention and each delivering on their own level…this is what a really good multi-hop brew tastes like. The bitterness was just about bang-on for my taste and was satisfying and refreshing.
I would (and have) drunk Wild Hop again since and it’s always been marvellous…and now I see that it was available in bottles! Blast. I think I’ve missed the boat there a bit. I have hopes of securing a bottle for comparison somehow, but fear that I might be out of luck.
Wild hop is testament to Adnams skill as a brewer in engaging their loyal fans and getting them to contribute all those hops, and taking those contributions and turning them into something interesting, rewarding and enjoyable…