There is no denying the popularity of the new wave of “wild” brews. These cutting-edge, contemporary versions are variously inspired by the aged sour, earthy and musty brews of Belgium and Germany and old stock ales of Britain. European brewers use both anachronistic and more modern techniques today to get that natural, primitive personality, but all are firmly grounded in historical, regional brews, those made well before the true understanding of microbiology.
North American brewers, ever intrigued by experimentation and new frontiers, are increasingly integrating the methods and catalysts of yore into avant-garde wild brews. Insatiable consumers, exploring their own boundaries and dimensions, drive this movement just as fervently. Extensive cellaring, elaborate barreling and maturation schedules and the introduction of “wild” organisms all figure into this unconventional and fashionable approach.
If wild brews are in your wheelhouse, then take a shot at brewing one. Start with a simple strategy and low-risk method that leaves nothing to chance. And, if you love the earthy, musty notes mentioned above, then a beer accented with a Brettanomyces yeast strain should more than scratch your itch. It will unveil a novel, intriguing realm of brewing and offer a solid foundation for more complicated adventures.
What is Brettanomyces?