Wiper and True, Plum Pudding Porter
Wiper and True have come a long way in just over five years and their early days of homebrewing in their kitchens using pots and pans. When they launched in 2012 they were the first cuckoo brewers (that’s brewers without their own brewery) to come from Bristol. A place where they have subsequently settled down and made their home. It’s fair to say that they have helped put the city on the UK craft beer map. Not bad at all for a place that was better known for its cider.
We’re big fans of what they’re doing. We love their branding, so subtle and yet so clever. They are lovely people who really care about what they do and how they do it. In short, we simply cannot get enough of their beers. It seems that we’re not alone in feeling this way either. In both 2015 and 2016, their beers were voted 2nd in BeerBods Beer of the Year by you people, our subscribers. High praise indeed. So when it came to deciding on which beer to feature the week before Christmas, we knew who to call.
This week’s beer is their most seasonal of offerings, a Plum Pudding Porter. The name says it all really. This beer is dark, deep and rich with enough fruit, spice and alcohol to live up to its namesake. In the way that we’ve come to expect from Wiper and True, there is a subtlety to this beer. Oh, and there are no plums in it, just like there are no figs in figgy pudding.
So what does 2018 have in store for Wiper and True? We’re going to let their commercial director and self-proclaimed champion dishwasher stacker Martin Saunders spill the beans.
“Strange as it might seem seeing as we’ve never sold a drop of it, Wiper and True started from cider making roots. Founders Michael Wiper and Al True enjoyed making cider as a hobby and planted a small cider apple orchard in 2010. The making of booze led them to start home brewing beer, something they could partake in without the constraints of the seasons.
Obsessive homebrewing led to setting up Wiper and True as a commercial entity, initially through brewing nomadically, then setting up our own facility three years ago. The idea of trying to use local, seasonal ingredients and wild fermentations as with cider making has never left the company.
As with most aspects of life “time away” allows you to reflect and get a different perspective. As Wiper and True has grown and started exporting, the team have returned from trips with stories of how beer culture is evolving differently in various parts of the world. One thing that seems to remain constant: The prevalence of historical British beer styles and the respect that British brewing is held in around the world. The evolution of the Porter and India Pale Ale is relatively well-known, but this made us start to think – what else is there in the archives and how can we bring more of a sense of place to what we brew? And what fun can we have playing around with them, bringing modern twists?
This year we’ve made an IPA (Returning Ernest) that aimed to bring together the old and new worlds by using British hops and a New England style yeast. A Strong Ale with apricots. Imperial Stouts with malted milk. We made a Saison with all British ingredients fermented with a traditional yeast from Yorkshire (Yorkshire Square), India Pale Ales with plums and blackberries and countless other recipes and experiments.
As we start thinking about 2018, we’re excited about looking more deeply into British brewing history, and how that can be fused with local ingredients (be that hops, yeasts or additions) and the exciting “new’ beers that we can create to celebrate the old. One to look out for is fermenting in barrel as we speak. In October we harvested our apples and pressed the juice straight into oak barrels. We topped them up with wort and are letting the wild apple yeasts ferment the beer over the winter, harnessing the spontaneous fermentation methods of traditional Somerset cider makers and fusing our two founding disciplines together. We don’t know how it’s going to taste, but it’s certainly something we are excited about.”
Wiper and True. No ordinary beer.