Wild Beer Co., Somerset, Solera - 4.3%; £3.15, 33cl
Making changes to other parts of the process, and using unconventional ingredients in unconventional ways, has seen them make good on this promise: apple-infused saisons, spelt beers, and oaked old ales are de rigueur for this brewery, not the domain of expensive limited edition brews.
Solera is a child of this latter process, influenced by and named for the process of aging and fractional blending by which each batch is made: barrels of aged beer are blended with the new product to create a consistent flavour, with fresh beer rejuvenating the older stocks. The aim is to create a unique beer that has the complexity of aged beer with the delicacy of fresh beer remaining intact.
Pouring a cloudy, deep amber, the nose offers lemons, cloves, damp wood and a hint of bubblegum. The flavour begins with a sharp lemon acidity, suggestive of older, soured ale, backed with a sharp sap and dry wood flavour. The body is fairly thick and yet the beer remains dry on the palate, with a refreshing astringent finish broken up by strong carbonation. Undeniably complex, this is certainly a unique beer with a character all of its own.
Recommended by Michael Bates, Trembling Madness, Stonegate, York