I am looking forward to tonight's review, I had been seeking it when I saw it at the bottle shop long before the bloke there tried to convince me to buy it, he continued in his patois anyway because I'm not sure many people are looking out for a Modus Operandi from Wild Beer Co. in the local area! This is the 2016 version and it's been sitting about in my understairs cupboard for a bit of a while. No time like the present!
As ever, mania may well be afoot, would you like to know more?
This pours with lots of activity and froth and happening stuff with an almost pitch black aspect in the low light of my workstation-y thing at the end of the dining room. However, hold the glass to the light and a lurid red appears, translucent and proper ruby, the sort you see in costume jewelry worn by actors in plays from your youth on TV. Lots of fizz but that settles within a minute or two, and I have chilled this one, big sour nose with a hint of cherry and the vanilla-like taste of the oak barrels used to age this one. It's nice and not a bit sour at all, which is strange.
Mind you, like the red blood in the heart that beats below the floorboards in Poe's short story so this is bound to let the full force out. Harsh sour notes on the opening of the tongue but these are masked by the carbonation and the oak, then it opens up with the full force of a Grumman 30mm GAU-8 cannon - shredding anything in its path and causing even the mighty engines of a tank-killing aircraft to be beaten back with the recoil versus the thrust. However, despite that, this isn't screw-your-face-up sour but tasty sour. It is tart, certainly, calling to mind the Tart in fact (click here) and there is something of the interest of the Aged Red (click here) too, but this is very much its own animal and will do things on its own terms. It does not really challenge the Trolltunga (click here) much, however, which is neither a shame nor a surprise. That's no bad thing, it's just worth noting.
No bitterness, only sour, and then only on the back end of the taste, like a cleansing tide scouring the pebble-strewn beaches and leaving washed stone in its wake, or the cascading waterfall slowly eroding the limestone at Malham Cove until geological changes rendered the whole thing dry and deadened except in heavy rains. That oak plays a big role in this, existing long past the point when you'd expect it to give up, and the 7% ABV is well-hidden beneath the blood-red veneer of the sour, so much so that I would posit that this very much falls into the category of 'dangerous ale' that may tempt you to session with something a bit too strong to do that with.
Basically uncomplicated, a sour with oak, but it does the job so smoothly and well that I feel like I ought to be looking for something more complex. In reality, it does what it says it will do and I imagine that the recommendation to have with game and meat would actually be a good one. As for me, I'm having it on a dark evening by the laptop all tuckered out for the night and it's no bad thing then either. I am impressed by this, in a way, and there is something of a hint of cherry about it as you get through the glass, just a tad and a smidge, but it is there.
Enjoy best then with game chips and pheasant or venison, freshly hunted from a sustainable estate, coupled with proper gravy and some roast parsnips. Season to taste, add some hippy types from small-holdings with the ability to supply the vegetables with a good pedigree and all the rough edges weeded out by the supermarkets and talk environmental protections and political activism. This is an ale best served with food and good conversation.