Day Four - Wild Beer Beyond Modus 2014 (UK, 8%)
"Smells like cherry cola. That's been kept in a shoe."
This was my brother's assessment of Beyond Modus' aroma, and I have to hand it to him - it's pretty spot on. It's very fruity, but equally funky, veering towards cheesy. And whilst the flavour is plenty funky, it's thankfully more barnyard straw than festive cheeseboard.
The label calls this beer "a study in blending", and it really is a brilliant expression of that art. It's beautifully balanced between sweet cherries and acidic red wine, hitting a complex sweet and sour equilibrium. That vinous quality is striking - often evident in the Flanders red style that Beyond Modus could loosely fit into, here it is boosted by ageing in Burgundy barrels. There's a huge, almost savoury depth of flavour to this beer, and it's also both extremely tannic and very bitter in the finish. This combination, which I often find in barrel aged sour beers, reminds me of tonic water; it makes you pucker your cheeks, and I love it.
The process of blending has always kind of blown my mind. The principle of mixing young and old beer for a balanced middle ground is simple enough, but in practice, how do you actually go about that? I wouldn't feel confident enough in my palate to make such judgements. But the good folk at Wild Beer have clearly nailed it.