Beginning with an introduction describing his first excursion into Brussels, Jeff Sparrow relates in humorous style his first encounters with a series of beers stylistically known as “Wild Brews.”
Offering a full accounting of the classic styles produced in Belgium, the author carries his mirthful style of storytelling into the history of brewing and crafting Lambics, Flanders Reds and Browns, Oud Brouin, Grand Cru, Gueuze… and the many versions of sour ales created by experimental brewers in North America.
Guiding the reader through the quintessential brewing regions, the chapter on Drinking Beers discusses the breweries and the beers created by the classic producers.
Beyond the localities and various breweries, the author describes the various souring organisms found and utilized in “spontaneously” fermented beers, production methods and the fermentation and flavor qualities supplied by wild fermentation.
Fully exploring fermentation, maturation and aging of Wild beers inside barrels, Jeff offers a full survey of the methods breweries utilize for Finishing the Beers. With fruit, blending of young and old batches and differing styles provides a depth of knowledge for completing the beer, including choosing the proper bottle and corks.
Rounding out the worthwhile read is a chapter filled with traditional and experimental recipes for making versions of Wild Beers at home.
For brewers seeking a comprehensive guide through the mystifying realm of “spontaneously” fermented beers, Wild Brews supplies the reader with the depth of knowledge and techniques for producing beers with wild yeasts and bacterial strains, colloquially and lovingly known as “Bugs.”