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It's just over a year since Wide Street made its début on this blog. A succession of one-offs and specials followed, but they have now settled on a core beer: House Saison. What's perhaps most surprising is that it's not fermented with Brettanomyces, opting instead for the Brett tribute act, Diastaticus.

The body is a hazy straw-yellow colour and head retention is non-existent, giving it something of a cider-like appearance. That's possibly the reason for the appley sensation I picked up in the foretaste: the power of suggestion. It's quite tart, which in combination with the low carbonation and thin texture had me thinking of cask lambic. There's even a sprinkling of woody spice in the aroma. After a moment, a richer, funkier side emerges; a warming covering of horse blanket. Brett's other signature characteristic -- juicy stonefruit -- flashes briefly before the whole thing wraps up. I was expecting quite a straightforward saison, but this is much more complex and leans into its sourness and funk. That's at the expense of its saisonosity, and purists may be miffed by the low levels of fruit and spice. I really enjoyed it, however, finding it both interesting and refreshing. 5.5% ABV is a little on the high side for it to be properly crushable but I could happily drink a few.

That came out at the same time as another oddity: Wide Street's first IPA. Cashmere is the headlining hop so Cashmere IPA the no-nonsense moniker (there's also Citra). No head qualms this time, with a healthy layer of bubbles forming above the translucent yellow body. It smells fresh and zingy, like a lemon sorbet. The flavour is very dry, rasping across the palate, dragging with it lime rind and grapefruit pith. And that's it really. The severe hops fade out to a chalky, cottony, aftertaste while the malt and oats twiddle their thumbs on the sideline. This is distinctly average fare. Perhaps it was an exercise in making a clean and simple beer in a brewery that's presumably awash in wild and funky yeast. If so, it was a success. As a drinking IPA, though, it's a bit boring.

A nice demonstration here of where Wide Street's strengths lie. Yes they can brew IPA but shouldn't go making a habit of it.