I’m always conscious to vary the breweries from whom I source ales to review. In spite of this, it gives me great pleasure to introduce another fine export from the North East’s exemplary, Wylam brewery. It’s Wylam’s’ 4th edition of an annual collaboration with Yeastie Boys, a New-Zealand based bunch who are quickly gaining renown north of the equator, and like the previous three editions of this annual international alliance, is exquisite. Typically, the label is vibrant and playful in colour, perhaps echoing the swirls, circles and vague symmetry of indigenous antipodean artwork and design. It’s typical Wylam, distinct in design and distinct in flavour. Like beers brewed and canned by the aforementioned brewery, the worn, textured, fabric-feel is a nice touch (literally). You know you’re holding a Wylam beer.
A common criticism of IPAs, particularly from those unversed in the vast anthology of real ales, often regards the aftertaste. A yeasty finish tends to scare off your standard lager drinker, the stronger flavourings and allround heavier brew enough to dissuade them back to a world of Coors Light and Carling. Here WxY4 differs. This beer is as thick and robust in colour as it is in flavour, pouring hazy-gold with a good head. The colour doesn't diminish. There isn’t anything translucent about this ale. 100% opaque. It starts strongly with a barrage of maltiness, fading gently as fruitiness takes hold, with notes of tropics - pineapple and grapefruit - filtering through to freshen the palette on finish. Don’t be deceived by the appearance, you’re not drinking a smoothie here. Despite a bold, murky body it doesn’t sit heavy, the robustness sits in the flavour. Four years on, this Kiwi-Geordie trans-global collaboration fares extremely well. Long may it continue.