Curious Brewery launches small batch beer series with "exciting twist" from Chapel Down wines

Curious Brewery, the brewery owned by wine producer Chapel Down, has launched the first in a series of small batch beers.

The series, named Curiouser & Curiouser, sees Curious Brewery collaborate with leading brewers from around the UK to produce unique limited edition beers that each lean on winemaking influences.

'Curiouser & Curiouser Chapter 1' is the first beer in the collection. It is a Wild Fermented Chardonnay & Bacchus Sour Ale created in partnership with Somerset’s The Wild Beer Company.

The beer is barrel-aged with Chardonnay and Bacchus wine yeast, creating “a uniquely complex beer”. The fresh acidity of 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, according to the producer. Only 1,500 bottles of the limited edition brew have been produced and each is bottled in a 75cl wine bottle and sealed with a crown cork, along with The Wild Beer Company’s signature wax seal.

The name of the series links to Alice in Wonderland and each beer in the collection will be a different chapter number. Chapter 1 has subtle links to the book in the packaging, including a neck tag that reads ‘Drink Me: Every adventure requires a first sip!’

Head winemaker, Josh Donaghay-Spire, led the collaboration with Somerset’s masters of flavours and fermentation, The Wild Beer Company, to create the barrel-aged sour beer.

He said: “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 tapping barrels of our Chardonnay and Bacchus lees with sour beer from the Wild Beer Company, where it then settled for six months. 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 once in a while.”

Curious Brewery’s managing director, Gareth Bath, said: “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 Sout Ale (4.9% abv) retails for £20 in a 75cl bottle, and is currently available to purchase from the newly-launched Curious Brewery’s website. 

Curious Brewery has also been announced as the headline sponsor of the UK's Curious Arts Festival 2018, which takes place in Pylewell Park, New Forest, Hampshire. The event, which takes place July 20 to 22, has a "slightly eccentric lens on life" and it will feature an eclectic array of talent from the world of literature, comedy, music and poetry. This year's line up includes Al Murray the Pub Landlord, Sunday Times magazine columnist Dolly Alderton and TV's choirmaster-in-chief, Gareth Malone among others. 

Curious Brewery's managing director, Gareth Bath, said: "The Curious Arts Festival is renowned as an always-original celebration of creativity across a variety of at forms. It is the sort of wonderfully inspiring and off-centred gathering we Brits love. We are huge believers in the delicious beauty of unconventionality too. This is going to be such asn exiting partnership."

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