Friday Froth: Kent Falls Shower Beer and Wild Beer Evolver

James Gribbon

The freshest beer news, delivered weekly, is one of my goals with Friday Froth. Tender, green shoots of hop aroma and flavor, seeded by the brewer, come to full fruition the moment you crack a young IPA, and tend to wilt when left to languish on a shelf. The hop plant is like knowledge that way, reaching its true potential when you use it to water yourself.  

Bursting through the dewy soil of Connecticut's beer scene this week was a new leaf in the form of Shower Beer from Kent Falls Brewery. How new are we talking? The five gallon pilot batch sampled by myself and others at the latest Beers At The Beach event in Norwalk was the only one in existence, for now. 

Shower beer is a gose, one of the few being produced in-state. Quite a few goses are dressed up with coriander or juices from blueberries, raspberries, and the like, but Kent Falls took zesters to limes for this one, and the result is uplifting.

Shower Beer is the cloudy, straw color seen with most of KFB's beers, but the lime oils enter the nose sharply. Served nice and cold, the citrus tang and slightest rime of salt form a sweet balance, rounded off by the underlying wheat body. I immediately imagined drinking this one in an outdoor shower, maybe with a gentle on shore breeze, and company. 

The newest beer from Kent Falls is a winner, plain and simple, and plans are in the works to release full batches for distribution before too long. It will be canned, naturally - glass containers being discouraged in most barefoot-and-naked situations. 

Kent Falls also brought their kinda-sorta IPA, Alternate World, which is more accurately described as an extravagantly hopped gose, to the event. It wasn't juicy or spiky with bitterness, but surprisingly mild. Low sample sizes being the hallmark of bad science so, just to be certain of consistent results, I had about five of them. The brewery is currently working toward brewing and releasing their first straight up IPA, Awkward Hug, later this summer. Keep an eye out for all three.

Some beers are meant to be enjoyed as fresh as possible, and some, like Stone's Enjoy By series, actually command it via imperious edict. These are printed with a precise date, after which Stone will actually take it back from the retailer, and presumably from consumers, if they can. Wild Beer Co., of Somerset, England, would rather transfer agency to the drinker, via their Evolver IPA.  

I briefly mentioned Evolver in my Ten Beers post last month, but we're taking a deeper dive today. The irony of hops is they themselves are a preservative, but their flavors and aromas degrade fairly quickly. Wild Beer Co. uses 100% brettanomyces yeast fermentation to heavily alter the process. Drink this IPA fresh, and you almost waste it

Evolver starts its life as an almost standard IPA, apart from the use of more traditional ale yeasts. I'm not anthropomorphizing it, either, I mean the beer is truly alive. For the first few months after bottling, a young Evolver will display a more green, fruity hop profile. The Brett will actually preserve this state a little longer than normal, but then a sort of midpoint is reached, and the seesaw tips the other way. This is where the wild, living yeasts take over. 

Poured from a bottle into a glass, Evolver neither looked nor particularly smelled like anything tremendously exciting. I then drank it, and gadzooks. Evolver truly is a full-Brett IPA, but it's not farmy at all, or at least it wasn't when I had it. There is the barest hint of funk, but it comes through almost grassy - like fresh hay without the commonly associated Horse Named Brett. It is very rare to find a truly different IPA, but this is the peculiar article. Wild Beer Company's beers are imported through B.United so, although I wouldn't call them common, they're available at bottle shops throughout Connecticut, and will be in stock now at various locations. I'd suggest calling ahead to check, or to place an order ahead of time.

So: which is better, untrodden freshness or unusual maturity? It's up to you, same as a preference for sunrise or sunset. I'm just glad we have a choice. See you out there.