Chapel Down launches £20 beer brewed with Chardonnay lees

English winery Chapel Down’s beer business, Curious Brewery, has launched a Curiouser & Curiouser range of small batch beers that tip their hat to the wine world.

The first beer in the Curiouser & Curiouser collection – Chapter 1 – is a limited edition 4.9% ABV sour ale blended with leftover Chardonnay and Bacchus lees.

The £20 barrel-aged brew was made in collaboration with Somerset’s The Wild Beer Company. Just 1,500 bottles have been produced and come housed in a 75cl wine bottle closed with a crown cork then finished with a black wax seal.

According to its maker, “the fresh acidity from the sour ale is balanced by the smooth and textural flavours characteristic of English wine to give intense aromas of citrus and toasted nuts with a hint of vanilla”.

The collection takes its name from the famous line in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Each beer will boast a different chapter number.

Kent-based Chapel Down’s head winemaker, Josh Donaghay-Spire, led the collaboration with The Wild Beer Company to create the quirky barrel-aged sour beer.

“Our collaboration with The Wild Beer Company was formed from a shared belief in exceptional brewing and a mutual passion for imaginative new products.

“The brewing process involved topping barrels of our Chardonnay and Bacchus lees with sour beer from the Wild Beer Company, where it then settled for six months,” Donaghay-Spire said.

“The beer was then blended with the best four of their summer blend and two of their sourdough barrels, resulting in a beer that confounds expectations and will push most beer drinkers out of their comfort zone, which is a good thing,” he added.

Curious Brewery’s managing director, Gareth Bath, added: ”Curiouser & Curiouser is going to offer beer drinkers something completely new: beer made by leading winemakers and some of the UK’s most forward-thinking brewers.

“The next beers in the series will be launched throughout 2018, each in partnership with a different brewer and each with a curious winemaking twist.”

Curiouser & Curiouser Chapter 1: Wild Fermented Chardonnay & Bacchus Sour Ale retails for £20 and is available to buy here. 

Launched in 2011, the Curious Brewery range includes a lager re-fermented with Champagne yeast; a triple hopped IPA; and a Kentish cider fermented with Bacchus lees.

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