There was a time when a turbid, opaque, hazy beer put down, dripping onto a cheap paperboard coaster, in a wooden panel pub would have raised eyebrows. “What is this muck?” they might have said. It looks dirty, unhealthy, bad for your stomach. And you know what, back then they might have been right.
Nowadays these beer styles are the darlings of the craft beer revolution. They signify not only progress but freshness as well. Untouched by man or machine (this isn’t true). Pure beautiful, brewing brilliance. Let us introduce you to Bedlam WILDE East Coast Pale Ale (the “East Coast” bit means expect it to be hazy by the way).
Who is Bedlam Brewery? Started in 2011 on Bedlam Street in Sussex in the shadow of the picturesque South Downs National Park, their moto is “Better Beer for a Better World”. Sounds like something you might say to help market your beer, but look a little closer and you’ll see they stick to their word.
With a new Eco brewery build in 2015 they were able to install solar power for the brewery, recycle all their waste water (5 pints of water to make 1 pint of beer by the way), recycle used ingredients and even recycle all their packaging. Then there’s the 1% for the planet initiative (a great idea started by Patagonia across the pond) where a percentage of all sales goes to helping the environment. A reminder, that is all SALES, not profit. So even if they don’t make a profit they continue to donate – another way of saying there are dedicated to the cause.
OK, so they’re the good guys and care about their carbon footprint, but can they make great beer?
Simple answer – my word these guys can brew! WILDE is a multi-award winning hazy pale ale drawing inspiration from the East Coast styles in the USA. They use mango puree alongside fresh American hops giving a big stone and tropical fruit aroma and taste (think Um Bongo for you 80s/90s kids).
The hops used are Amarillo, Sabro, Ekuanot and Simcoe all sourced from Charles Faram, pioneers in hop supply for 150 years. The full range of aromas offered include orange, peach, pink grapefruit, pineapple, papaya, lime, green pepper, passionfruit, pine, coconut, tangerine, and cedar wood. Within this large spectrum of flavours, you find some truly amazing experiences:
- pineapple and grapefruit: like being transported to a swinging hammock in the Bahamas (or drinking a Lilt from your local corner shop).
- mango and peach: reminiscent of some of the greatest chardonnays coming out from France and South Africa.
- mango and lime: both are aggressive flavours, but limes slightly harsh notes are offset by the floral notes it shares with mango.
- mango and coconut: like the famous Thai rice recipe, these two combines wonderfully giving a smooth and creamy flavour profile.
- grapefruit: she is kind of the grandfather of the citrus family, and this fruit is more musky and mildly woody.
- mango and apricot: for anyone who might have enjoyed an ice-wine, you’ll find that moment of viscous, delicious heaven within this pale ale.
What about this haze – is it healthy? So, the haze is caused by polyphenols from the hops combining with the protein in the beer. This causes it to be suspended in the beer, therefore causing a haze. In other words, its completely natural. All natural reactions from all natural ingredients, even if it still comes across as mad science to most of us.
What else about this beer makes it special? Well, have you ever considered texture from the beers you drink? The three most sensitive parts of the body (in order) are the fingertips, tongue and lips. Now we don’t go around putting our fingers in our beer to test how thick it might be, so lets all assume we use the other two.
Borrowing a term from the world of wine, the “length” of your beer is determining how long it roams around on your palate. If your unsure what this means try tasting a standard lager alongside a hazy pale ale. One washes away quite quickly, and is refreshing. The other clings onto the walls of your mouth a bit longer, and is moreish. One guess for which is which, but it is more fun if you try that one at home for yourself.
So, the Wilde Pale Ale likes to hang around a bit longer. Now some call these beer experiences the pillow effect (an expression I happen to like), but it’s been a long time since we were 4 months old and shoving everything into our mouths to find out what it felt/tasted like. It is soft and smooth, relaxing and comfortable. This beer is not trying to be confrontational. Quite the opposite, it wants you to relax and tell stories to your friends – especially if the story your telling concerns the beer itself (many Beer Dads do this!)
Here are some other little tit bits to take away regarding Bedlam Brewery and their WILDE East Coast Pale Ale:
- draws inspiration from Oscar Wilde.
- supports the LGBT community.
- profits from Pride 2022 event went to the Rainbow fund.
- completely unfiltered
- European Beer Challenge GOLD winner 2021.
Time to wrap this up. It is a sensational beer, and one we plan on keeping around for a long time on our shelves. If you love hazy beers follow the link and if you love Bedlam brewery hit the search button at the top of your screen.
Cheers, from Jamie