If you come into this situation expecting to taste a run of the mill beer, as I did, you will end up looking like and idiot… as I did.
Imagine if wine and beer had a baby. Not like making a shandy out of the 2 of them because you’re at a house party and you’ve forgotten how to spell dignity. Like they had a baby which took the good points from each parent. That’s what this beer is. It is the olive branch in the war between beer and wine. It is like an alcoholic Nephilim. A combination of the 2 with both of their powers and none of their weaknesses.
Hello again, the object of my buffoonery…
This beer was the catalyst to my entire Wild Beer Co. adventure.
What transpired to lead me to such a wonderful end? You’re probably wondering, only in different words because you’re not a pompous git.
Well, allow me to elucidate. There sits a pair of brilliant little beer shops just round the corner from my girlfriend’s house. Whenever I go to visit her, instead of just getting a pack of lager and calling it an evening, I always try to call in, pick out a few incredible craft beers and really enjoy a good drink.
On this occasion, I picked up a couple of wheat beers, an IPA and a couple of Wild Beer Co. beers. One was called a Bibble, the other was this one. I started my beer appreciation with the Bibble. I’ll not go into too much detail as this isn’t a Bibble review.
It’s a very drinkable pale ale, described as one of their “Everyday Beers”.
After that, I moved on to the others until I arrived at the Modus Operandi. Not knowing anything about it, I cracked it open and took a swig.
The sourness hit me and I reeled. This was not what I was expecting.
Have you ever reached into the fridge for a drink of milk, accidentally grabbed the orange juice without realising and drank that instead? How foul is that taste? We both know that orange juice is a delicious beverage, just not when you were expecting milk.
I didn’t know anything about the company before I picked up those bottles, I obviously judged a book on its cover. Or, in this case, I judged a beer by its bottle.
I would like to say that I then made the grown up decision to read the bottle, maybe do a little research and found out the wealth of knowledge available on their website.
This is not the case. I took the rather churlish route of crafting a short email expressing my disdain.
I was met with a measured and informative email, sent a few of their sour beers and I walked away with my tail between my legs. Yeah, I got some amazing beers out of the situation but, at what cost?
So I’m here for round 2. I’ve come back, armed to the teeth with knowledge about this beer and I am ready to fully appreciate it. It is on!
There was only 1 way to come up against such a worthy foe. So I set up my Tivo’d Game of Thrones marathon, put on my PJs and grabbed a wine glass.
So that we are on equal footing, I will now share the information that was shared with me about this beer.
“We consider it our masterpiece. It was the beer that started our brewery, a beer inspired by the wonderful Flanders Red-style and the modern U.S. takes on it such as Jolly Pumpkin’s La Roja, we brewed Modus to be all about barrel-ageing, wild yeasts and blending.
We age it in both bourbon barrels and Burgundy Pinot Noir barrels for between 3 months and a year or so with wild yeasts. When we blend we will taste some 60-70 barrel samples to blend around 25, it is an all day job. We are looking for base notes of vanilla and oak, a cherry pie character from the yeast and then vinous notes and some acidity from the wine barrels. Once we have our base we will look for a couple of second use barrels to add some more layers and complexity. These barrels might be more acidic or have some balsamic notes or acetone, essentially for us, the fault is what can make this beer even more special.
As I’m sure you can tell, Modus is our baby and we love it very much. However, we understand it won’t be for everyone, it isn’t really like any other beer, and it always tends to create an emotional reaction, mostly love but occasionally hate.”
There is nothing I can add to that. Have you read that? That’s how you describe a beer, right there.
If I had to find a food analogous to this beer, I would definitely describe it as a cherry pie with vanilla ice cream (like a proper Cornish one) and a fantastic glass of red wine next to it.
If you let it settle and take a deep breath as you sip it, you get a very surprising blast of vanilla. The curious thing about it is that if you try to find said vanilla, all you discover are the vinous notes (is notes the word?). So maybe forget what I just said so you can enjoy that sweet surprise.
Rating: TBD (currently, 9.3/10)
I am not ready to pass judgment on this beer, just yet. I have it’s older sister (this beer is definitely a woman) downstairs. Part of the beer package I received included this 2016 Modus as well as a 2015 brew. Once I have had that one, I will compare. I will say this. I have never been so glad to be wrong in all of my life. Not only did it give me a chance to enjoy the error of my ways, I got to experience a range of beers I may never have tried.
As for how to enjoy this, wine glass and rich red meat. I’d suggest venison or a steak cooked anything under medium well. A nice side of roasted carrots, mash potato and some good, proper gravy. And sip it you animal, don’t neck it like some sort of barbarian.