Wolf of the Willows ISA

wotwISA

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

ABV: 5.2%

IBU: N/A

From: The guys themselves, Scotty and Renae. Thanks a tonne!

Pour:

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.

Palate:

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.

Final Thoughts:

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!

Wolf of the Willows XPA

wowXPA

 

It’s always dangerous when there is so much hype surrounding a brew and a new brewery, particularly in a year where there seems to be a new brewery popping up every month. It would be very easy for Wolf of the Willows to fall by the wayside, but I’ve been tracking Scott (Mr. Wolf of the Willows), his marketing and his branding and it has been top notch all the way making it impossible to ignore. I find it very clever that he has the one release and has decided to launch his brand on this, giving him the chance to really nail it. And he has, building a serious amount of ground swell. The thing I love most is the label design, simple but effective and instantly recognisable. But all of this is nothing if the brew doesn’t back it up! His first release, an XPA, rather flies in the face of what is being released at the moment. It’s either IPA’s or ‘session’ ales but this hits the in between, something that seems to have been missed by everyone else and has proven a clever move. Let’s see how it stacks up.

Style: Extra Pale Ale

ABV: 4.7%

IBU: N/A

From Where: Scotty “Beardface” Thompson… Thanks Scotty!

Pour:

Pours a lovely orange marmalade colour with fluffy white head.

On The Nose:

The nose seriously kicks it up to 11, so good. Layers of ripe, juicy citrus and candied citrus rind, sweet pineapple, heaps of honeydew melon and lingering mango and peach. There is this brilliant blend of fruit sweetness and biscuit malt sweetness in the background that’s just blowing my socks off, a perfect amalgamation.

Palate:

Getting lots of tropical fruit bitters and citrus: pineapple, passionfruit and cracking grapefruit pith, lime zest and preserved lemon notes. Plenty of soft, chewy stone fruits to wrap your mouth around too with light candied ginger and cinnamon. Really well balanced out with sweet biscuit malts and a dry medium- long finish and mouthfeel. Every mouth full leaves you wanting more!

Final Thoughts:

Well folks, it was definitely worth the wait! The elusive Wolf of the Willows XPA packs a serious amount of flavour for 4.7%, I had to double check the label to make sure! I am super excited for what is in store next for this ambitious project. If you happen to come by a bottle of this, do yourself a favour and buy it! Expect to see some more Wolf of the Willows XPA around the place in January.