Yes, it is true, we love a bit of gin as well as all the beers. So much so, that we thought we ought to combine these two passions. So we hooked up with our friends at Drinkwell Bars, who are as daft about the drinks as we are, to see what we could come up with. The guys run two well respected venues in Old Beaconsfield (The Swan and The Treehouse) and produce small batch spirits including Lady Adler Chiltern Gin and Northern Discomfort under the Wayfarer’s label so were the perfect buddies to work with. You should check them out.
The result of this comradely collaboration is going to be launched tonight! This exciting new beer and gin collaboration project comprises Ukko Beer (a Sahti-inspired Pale Ale brewed with Juniper and filtered through pine) and Ukko Gin which has been created using distilled Columbus and Vic’s Secret hops which also feature in the beer. Ukko is the Finnish God of sky, weather, harvest and thunder. Kinda like Thor…
The beer style inspiration, Sahti, is a traditional beer from Finland made from a variety of grains, both malted and unmalted, including barley, rye, wheat, and oats; sometimes bread made from these grains is fermented instead of malt itself. Traditionally the beer is flavored with juniper berries in addition to, or instead of, hops and the mash is filtered through juniper twigs through a trough-shaped tun (called a kuurna in Finnish). Sahti is a top-fermented brew, and while baking yeast has been used traditionally, ale yeast may also be used in fermenting. The beer has a distinct banana flavor due to the production of isoamyl acetate by the yeast.
Principal taste comes from traditional gin flavouring, juniper berries. The berry is the female seed cone produced by the various species of junipers. It is not a true berry but a cone with unusually fleshy and merged scales, which give it a berry-like appearance. The cones from a handful of species, especially Juniperus communis, are used as a spice, particularly in European cuisine, and also give gin its distinctive flavour. In Norwegian farm house brewing, juniper infused water replaces brewing liquor. The berries give a flavour and aroma that is resinous, with pine and citrus notes and green, woody, floral tones.
“We are so pleased to be working with Wayfarers and to be involved in creating two of the best types of drink in the world – beer and gin! This small batch project has given us a great opportunity to play and create what we think are two great tasting products.” – Ruth Mitchell, Renegade Brewery
“This was a really great project to work on, it’s great to be able to bounce ideas off other people, especially those in other parts of the drinks industry and we loved the opportunity to try a new and exciting type of beer.” – Will Twomey, Head Brewer at Renegade and West Berkshire Brewery
“We are overjoyed about working with Renegade Brewery – their passion for great beer, and taking the drinker on a journey – an adventure – really matched in with our ideals at the Wayfarer’s Distillery. We hope this will be the first of many projects working with them.” – Laurie Othen, owner of Wayfarers Distillery
Ukko will be launched at The Treehouse Beaconsfield on Tuesday 6th from 6pm and The Rake, Borough Market on Wednesday 7th from 5pm with both the beer and gin available to taste. Both products will then be available from West Berkshire Brewery, Wayfarers Distillery and selected outlets across the Thames Valley and London.
P.S. – In all the christmas kerfuffle and business we have neglected to shout too loudly about some of the other special pilot brews we have been playing around with recently. We made a Bannana Rye Ale (called Bananas-in-Ryejamas) in conjunction with the team at The Lanes in Bristol (best get down there if you want any as it is flying out) and have been over to Northern Ireland to brew a collaboration with the guys at Farmageddon which ended up as Red IPA called Red Eye PA, which walked straight into the Belfast beer festival and absconded with the top prize. More on this shortly.