Conversation is going ’round
People talking ’bout the beer that’s come to town
Lovely pale ale, pretty as can be
No one knows it’s name it’s just a mystery
I have drunk it maybe once or twice
The one thing I can say is, it’s very nice
It’s an ale, one I really want to know
Somehow I’ve got to let my feeling show
It’s fresh, exciting
It’s so exciting to me
It’s fresh, exciting
It’s so inviting to me, yeah…
Guess who’s getting a massive sue-ball in the face, eh?
Sorry Kool and the Gang…I couldn’t resist it. Tell me to take it down and I will…I just crumple in the face of legal action; and besides, I can trot this sort of shit out all day long…
So, a can of Fresh from The Wild Beer Co. then, how did that happen?
Tuesday night was a-looming and I was planning to pop out for a drink with Dave. Normally we go to local pubs in Dedders, Chippy or The Tews…but for this outing I wanted to go somewhere that was, you know, a bit more craft. And for “craft”, read “somewhere with a choice of beer, that wasn’t just brown”
As it was, a little googling revealed that The Grapes in George Street, Oxford has been re-jigged into a new craft beer and pizza joint called “Beerd” (http://beerdoxford.com/), I had a quick shufty at their twitter feed and it seemed like they knew what they were talking about beer-wise, so we duly trundled along.
Beerd reminds me very much of the gig that the Craft Beer Company, Brewdog and others of that ilk run: it’s clean, slightly retro, impossibly “now”, slightly shabby chic and rammed to gunwhales with bottles and taps and stuff.
I had a RedChurch Boreft Saison, which was beautifully dry and fruity and Saisony and everything that I really wanted it to be. I also had a Siren “Dinner For Ten” Vienna Pale Ale, which was nicely toasty and pleasantly hoppy. Only thirds of each, so I could drive safely later on.
Remaining sober allowed me to admire the nice selection of beers that Beerd had on while the chap behind the bar stressed that his cellar cooling was being sorted out, so there’d be more beer soon as they’d got loads of kegs and barrels of all different sorts downstairs, all ready to go.
It was during this conversation that I spotted the can of Wild Beer Co. “Fresh” (which, for some reason, I feel like capitalising and adding an exclamation mark to?)
Chap behind the bar said it was FIVE QUID a can, I said that it’s no problem as I’m reviewing it for YIMB and I don’t normally mind paying for decent beer (I cried as I handed the money over, in fact it ended up in a bit of struggle…)
Money safely pocketed, chap said: “I’ve got a keg of Fresh downstairs, which I can put on in an hour or so if you like?”.
Typically of course, I couldn’t stay…an early start for work the next day, etc. you know… he then offered to hold it back for a day or so until I was next able to come in (!) a lovely gesture, but of course with Eve having bagged a swimming the next evening and me also being seriously in debt in terms of nights out due to a week in the US, I had to pass…
But I’m going to follow these folks on twitter and visit them often, as they clearly know what they’re at and seem to have an eye for a nice range of beer.
God, yes! The can! I almost forgot…
Opening with a lively “fssssst”, FRESH! (I did it, see?) pours a gorgeous orange amber with a smart white cap that quickly fizzles off to a slick sea-foam covering.
The aromas that came at me were thick and marmaladey, with frills of citrus and pine around the edges. Weirdly, in the background I picked up a faint roasted note, which rounded the whole thing out nicely.
Taste-wise Fresh (I’ve stopped now) is assertively hoppy, with a whirl of floral, pine and citrus – all underscored by a dryish but solid malt body.
The bitterness comes stampeding in at the end to to knock you about a bit before tapering off at the swallow, leaving you standing there like a cheap Morrissey impersonator clutching bouquets of floral hops for the aftertaste…
I liked this beer a lot, but maybe I would have liked it a shade sweeter – as bitter-sweet works a bit better for me than bitter-dry…but hey, it’s The Wild Beer Co. and they know what they’re at…in fact it might be a more attenuative yeast that’s at play here – making for that drier body…
Either way I can’t wait to try more Wild Beer Co. tackle – and I rather think a fair amount of it may well be sampled at Beerd in Oxford…
Fresh, here: http://www.wildbeerco.com/beers/fresh/
Beerd, here: http://beerdoxford.com/