Of Wolf And Man - a beer with quite a tale behind it

Anybody who knows me (Weird Beard Tasha here) will know I love wolves and I love stories. That is a random introduction right there but, given that my name is Natasha Wolf and I had a sizeable input in the beer concerned you’re just going to have to embrace my love of both these things. So grab a bevvie, settle down and let me begin the story behind “Of Wolf And Man”...

 Back in the day! (Some true baby-faced beer folks pictured here).

Back in the day! (Some true baby-faced beer folks pictured here).

Back in the Olden Days, when Weird Beard first started in 2013, before I was part of the cog-works of the brewery I was offered the opportunity to brew here as part of BrewDog’s first ever Collabfest. The bar I then worked for, BrewDog Camden, excitedly paired up with Weird Beard to make an American Wheat Ale. 13 or so of us made the epic trek to Weird Beard and to-date, with 5 Collabfest brewdays under my belt, that experience was by far the best. Not only was it super fun-filled, informative and exhilarating, with a huge team of enthusiastic beer folks and friends, it was my very first brew ever. Add Bryan’s iPod on shuffle, a blast of my teenage past with Coheed and Cambria coming on, and life as I knew it would never be the same for me after that.

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So, the beer that was made on this occasion was Weird Beard’s Gyle 29. Being ultra-keen and signing up to return to the brewery for dry-hopping, packaging and labelling with a few others of the BD Camden team, I really felt I contributed to the beer we brewed that day. Weird Beard (I say this as at this point of the story I wasn’t employed there) released it initially as “Camden Beard” which eventually after all this faff happened, was renamed “K*ntish Town Beard”. For years on after it has remained a main-stay in the Weird Beard beer portfolio. Now that I have been employed at Weird Beard for many years, it is a constant positive reminder of my cutting my teeth in the Brewing World.

My narrative so far has given you the back-story to “K*ntish Town Beard” (KTB) but there’s more to it!

We mark our centenary brews here at Weird Beard by scaling up a beer that is in important to us. Our followers and fans will know this but in case you didn’t:

  • Gyle 100: Black Perle 3.8% (Coffee Milk Stout) scaled up to Double Perle 8.6% (Impy Coffee Milk Stout)

  • Gyle 200: Sorachi Face Punch 3.9% (Session IPA) scaled up to Defacer 11.1% (Triple IPA)

  • Gyle 300: Saison 14 5.5% (Farmhouse Saison) scaled up to Saison 28 10.3% (Impy Saison)

  • Gyle 400: Decadence 5.5% (Luxurious Stout) scaled up to Opulence 10.2% (Madagascan Vanilla Impy Stout)

And so to mark Gyle 500, it called for another special something. Since we have a very open-book policy here and absolutely anyone may suggest recipes to be brewed, I suggested we imperialised KTB and that idea was met with a lot of enthusiasm. I cannot write beer recipes so Bryan designed the amplified recipe, keeping all the ingredients essentially the same as KTB. Weird Beard Ben and I made the beer on our 500th brewday. Besides me being the token Vegan of the brewery and Ben being the token Vegetarian of the brewery, the cool thing about this beer is that it's made by a Wolf and a Man. If you think that’s pretty witty, you’ve yet to cotton on that this beer is also named after a truly incredible song by one of the biggest Rock bands of all time. We’ve named more beers after songs by this particular band than any other band, and we’re not going to be stopping that anytime soon. Have a listen!

Being a bigger version of KTB the grain-bill weighed in hefty, making the mashing in perhaps not my most enjoyable. Over 20% of the grist was wheat and it’s this key ingredient that makes up the thick and delicious body of the beer. Packed full of tangerine meets grapefruit; there’s a lot of pithy citrus in the aroma and following through into the taste. While the dry & bitter flavours kick in, you get full-frontal pine from the American hops we’ve used, at various additions in the boil and also for dry-hopping to create a layered hop profile. Like I said, keeping things just as in KTB, we used the same trio of Willamette, Cascade and Centennial to be reminiscent of the flavours we love of the inspirational, original beer.

 Thanks to our wonderful artist  Chris  for whipping up the label, similar in style to KTB yet very much also featuring what looks like my very own Lup'in.

Thanks to our wonderful artist Chris for whipping up the label, similar in style to KTB yet very much also featuring what looks like my very own Lup'in.

Join us in celebrating our milestone and enjoying the first sips of "Of Wolf And Man" at the newest bar of the The Craft Beer Co. fleet.

Tapping tonight 18/01/2017 at 6pm at The Craft Beer Co Old St, with a few other brews of ours rocking the taps for the event too!