Beer Review – Wild Beer Co. Ninkasi
Brewery: Wild Beer Co. (Somerset, UK)
Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale
Serving: 750ml Sharing Bottle
Price: I paid £7 but expect to pay up to £15
Celebration beers. They’re a pretty intangible thing, really. Each brewery does something slightly different. Sierra Nevada for instance release an annual celebration ale which is essentially just a standard wet hop IPA. Siren do Ratchet which is a blended, dry hopped saison (which I also tried recently and was kind of weirded out by). A lot of beer heads name Wild Beer Co’s Ninkasi as one of the best in the category and it’s certainly gained high praise on sites like RateBeer. My fellow beer geek, Sam (@samogotchi) recently snapped up the last bottle of Ninkasi at my local craft beer pub, much to my disappointment. However to my delight, I went in this weekend and they had more! Yay!
The carbonation on this beer is brisk for sure, but nothing like Siren’s Ratchet which, despite a week in my fridge motionless, still spunked about a third of its contents when I opened it. This ours two to three fingers of bubbly white head which does disappear quite quickly. I think if I’d settled this properly and poured more carefully it would have been pretty much clear, but because I got too excited I ended up with some haze. The brewery recommend drinking from a champagne flute but, lets face it, I was never going to do that. I poured in my trusty teku which did the job just fine.
The aroma is a lot like a very dry cider with the apple character toned back a bit. It also brings a champagne note in the form of a bit of sharpness. You do get a tonne of that wild yeast which brings a definite Belgian style funk to the aroma and there are also some tropical fruit notes, likely from the NZ hops used. There’s a lot going on but nothing too overpowering.
In terms of flavour, this stuff is absolutely killer! You get a big sharp champagne-like hit of grape and light citrus up front which leads into a complex, spicy Belgian yeast character which definitely lets you know you’re drinking a great saison. Finally, you get a lovely lingering sweet apple and tropical fruit flavour and a very reserved bitterness from those NZ hops that just tease you enough to want to dive in for another sip. All the flavours are so perfectly balanced it’s scary, and that’s pretty much the main motif with this stuff; balance. I’m told the Grand Cru version of this beer is even better but I’m not sure how that could be possible. Very tasty stuff indeed!
The beer has a nice prickly mouthfeel from the carbonation and sharp flavours and the body, considering its a 9% beer, is light as a feather! You’d guess 5-6% alcohol, tops. Definitely not at all boozy.