January 31 2019 – Simon Yarwood
by Charlotte Knowlson
Despite the typically Mancunian weather on a mid-December Saturday last year, I wandered down to Wander Beyond Brewery to celebrate at their 1st birthday bash and the bottle launch of the Poseidon series. I was richly rewarded for venturing out into the cold with a cheeky sip (or two… or three…) of their fantastic selection of beers: Sea Song, a delicious and full-bodied red wine and bourbon barrel-aged 16% imperial stout; Tiki’s Turtles, which is basically a sweet ’n’ sour tropical cocktail of pineapple and mint masquerading as beer; and Loris, a sweet, tart and fruity peach Berliner Weisse.
Head brewer Mat was kind enough to take a break from partying for a moment to tell us a little more about the brewery. When asked how 2018 has been, he summed it up by saying “busy is probably the word!”, with 48 beers released this year. We would certainly have to agree with Mat when he says their first year has been “adventurous” - Wander Beyond don’t do boring beer, and their adventurous streak has led them to experiment with barrel ageing, various milkshake and cocktail style beers, big flavours and innovative flavour combinations — to great success.
The Poseidon Series certainly lives up to their reputation for big flavour and exciting brews; the series came to fruition after a hefty 16% imperial stout was brewed over 3 days last December, and has since been barrel-aged in bourbon and red wine barrels. Tina, the talent behind the incredible Wander Beyond branding, explained what inspired this nautical-themed series: “For the Poseidon Series, I wanted to choose a theme that […] could be transferred over several artwork pieces as there are several barrels with the same base beer in. I also wanted something that I could create a story around so if you collected all the bottles you could line them up in order and see the narrative unfold. The base beer is 'Poseidon' and the characteristics of each barrel transfer a little into their own artworks. 'Iron Born' is the first in the series and the name and artwork reflect this, it's the beginning of the journey for the barrel characters on their ship and also the beginning for the drinker. The second in the series, 'Sea Song' sees these barrel characters lured in by beautiful mermaids. We have some exciting single barrels and barrel blends in the pipeline for this series and I already have some artwork ideas for each barrel. I find inspiration for artwork comes much easier if the beer is something I'm excited about! The artwork narrative continues to unfold throughout the series (so hold onto your empty bottles) and reflects the beer inside. I can't reveal too much but the next release will see our ship encounter a deadly Kraken (you can see hints of its tentacles on the horizon of 'Sea Song'). This variation is inspired by a Scottish dessert and it'll be quite obvious what's in it from the artwork!”
So what else is in the pipeline (or perhaps keg lines, if you’ll pardon the pun) for Wander Beyond for 2019? Mat says that we will be seeing a range that is big into stouts and exotic milkshakes, but that they hope to kickstart a new sour programme this year, too. The best way to keep up to date with Wander Beyond’s exciting evolution is to keep your eyes on social media, where there will be updates about new releases and events.
And for their 2nd birthday bash? Don’t worry — barrels of delights such as Curious Creek and Coconut Crater are already ageing for a barrel party in December 2019!
We have Wander Beyond - Sea Song in stock in both Heaton Moor and Didsbury now!