The big question on my lips, and I’m sure many others, was how The Wolf of the Willows was going to follow up from their first rather excellent release, XPA. The answer: another acronym, ISA, translating to India Saison. Following up on this release was never going to be easy, the XPA was one of last years biggest releases coming in at number 100 in last years Craft Beer Hottest 100. That’s seriously impressive for a brand new brewery. Like their first release, this one was shrouded in mystery, even on brew day. It was basically an Instagram guessing game for all keeping track through out the day, which I’m sure there were many, going under the hashtag what’s the brew mr wolf? I thought it was a rather nice touch and a clever bit of marketing which I have now come to associate with everything Scott does, guy seriously knows what he’s doing. So let’s see how Wolf of the Willows India Saison turned out…
Style: India Saison
From: The guys themselves, Scotty and Renae. Thanks a tonne!
Pours a slightly hazy lemon gold with fine white head.
On The Nose:
A massive, wet hop hit straight off the bat: tonnes of tropical fruits, lashings of citrus and juicy stone fruits. Think fresh lychee, mouth watering mango, sweet, tangy pineapple, peach blossom, fresh peeled nectarine, candied orange zest, lime and bitter grapefruit. A dry, crisp sweet spice finish: cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg with slight farmhouse funk in the background.
The palate kicks off fresh and clean with plenty of tropical fruit bitters, citrus and sweet stone fruits. Candied orange flesh and zest, bitter ruby grapefruit, lime juice, fresh peach, tangy nectarine, juicy mango and light pineapple. Rye kicks in mid palate with slight earthy notes and sweet spices, mouthfeel is rounded out from the oat additions. Finishes off with classic dry cereal notes, drops off pretty quick though.
This is the beer equivalent of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back for Wolf of the Willows. A brilliant sequel to an stupendous beginning and part of one of the great ongoing sagas of our generation. Some brilliant work from Scotty yet again, this one has really stepped up to the XPA and exceeded. Let us hope the next brew brings the game just as much!