Cupitt’s have been making beer-wine hybrids for five years now, and each vintage has been spot on. After how well last year’s Nebbiolo co-ferment turned out, head brewer Liam Jackson decided to take the same route this year, beginning with a whole bunch wild ferment of the 2023 harvest Nebbiolo grapes, then blending it with the wort and Belgian yeast.
The resulting Nebbiolo Co-Ferment (Vintage 2023) is a delicate number that tastes like a summer’s day picnic. It’s a gorgeous deep pink that brings to mind cranberry juice, with a berry aroma smoothed out by soft banana-like Belgian yeast esters. In the mouth, there’s a touch of crisp acidity followed by long, drawn-out fruit notes that are evocative of mixed berry cordial. Honestly, it drinks much like a light red wine. Or to come more from the beer side: it’s like if you took a crisp berry saison, but took out any sourness.
While it has less influence from wine than the above, the Barrel Aged Imperial Stout (2023) came out of former cabernet and malbec barrels this winter and brought with it a touch of sweetness and winey tang to join the already complex stout. Deep dark fruit character overlaps with fudgy mudcake, ending up reminding me of a tiered chocolate gateau layered with cherry compote. And Irish whiskey ganache, thanks to the sleek alcohol notes.
But this isn’t an episode of Netflix’s Is It Cake? There’s no sweet mess here; the above flavours are tempered by a roastiness that pushes through too, and moves into a gentle wood char with a weighty bitterness.
Published September 8, 2023 2023-09-08 00:00:00