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The quarterly Wicklow Wolf Locavore series has really hit its stride in recent years, with some truly creative and high-end beers. It may be a bit of a gimmick -- all ingredients are acquired locally, mostly on the brewery's own land -- but the commitment to quality comes as standard. That said, the spring release last year was nothing more adventurous than a weissbier, so I was pleased that Locavore Spring 2024 has them back playing with barrels and Brettanomyces again.

To be precise, it's a "Barrel aged farmhouse ale with Brettanomyces", presumably starting life as some class of saison before getting the wild yeast treatment and 16 months in Chardonnay casks. The result is 7.2% ABV and a bright, though murky, golden colour. The best of these have a flavour profile in common with lambic, but this is nothing so wild and sour. The Brett is the more cuddly sort, giving the aroma and flavour big soothing notes of ripe apricot and tinned lychee. There's a certain amount of peppery spice, but not as much as I would like. As it warms, the white wine character emerges, complementing the stonefruit elements, but adding a little alcohol poke, which shouldn't be unexpected, given the strength.

Although it's no masterpiece of mixed-fermentation complexity, it's very nice stuff. I see it working well as an aperitif, in place of white port or cocktails based on dry vermouth. By the end of the glass I had become aware that lazy summer evenings aren't too far away. Get a few of these in for that, and thank me later.

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