19 September 2011

Murky cygnus manoeuvre

"White Gold": such a lovely way to describe a beer that looks like slightly cloudy Budweiser. But I'm being facetious. Wild Swan (are there any tame swans?) is a lovely 3.5% ABV summer blonde from Derbyshire's finest, Thornbridge. I think it's an English golden ale at heart. It has the crisp lager-like refreshing qualities of the best ones, and a piquant, pithy hop bite at the finish. Even at this low strength there's also a touch of bubblegum malt coming through as well.

But that pale haziness is pure Belgian witbier. It's missing the spice, admittedly, but there's the right sort of lemony zest at the heart of the flavour, as well as the palate-cleansing fizz.

Complex enough to sit over; light enough to quaff: Wild Swan is a great all-rounder.


  1. "Today, the Crown retains the right to ownership of all unmarked mute swans in open water, but The Queen only exercises her ownership on certain stretches of the Thames and its surrounding tributaries.

    This ownership is shared with the Worshipful Company of Vintners and the Worshipful Company of Dyers, who were granted rights of ownership by the Crown in the fifteenth century"

    When you hear them moaning on the radio the Vintners never mention how they have cornered the swan market.

  2. I think the least those shiftless dyers could do is provide us with swans in more interesting colours.

  3. Is this meant to be hazy? I've never actually had it in bottle, but certainly the examples of Kipling and Jaipur I've had have been crystal clear.

  4. There is a whole Daily Mail angle to this Queen owning the swans meme
    "Muslim jailed for killing British queen’s swan to breakfast" http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2006%5C11%5C23%5Cstory_23-11-2006_pg7_3

    'Asylum seekers eat swans' http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-5603545-asylum-seekers-eat-swans.do

    Does jailing someone for eating not seem a bit Robin hood? You know the bit where the Sheriff of Nottingham hangs the 9 year old poacher for eating one of the kings rabbits.

  5. Anonymous9:37 am

    Funnily enough, I have 3 different Witbier yeast strains ready to ferment some Wild Swan wort as soon as I get round to sanitising some homebrew tubs. I'll let you know the results!

    Thornbridge Brewery

  6. Mudgie: No idea, and don't really care. Perhaps Dom can tellus.

    Dave: Our forefathers died in the GPO so we would have the right to eat our own swans. Any shifty foreign types eyeing up my swans will get what's coming to them. Probably from the swan, actually.

    Dom: Sounds fun. Is this a pre-pilot brewery?

  7. Anonymous11:37 am

    No, just a silly idea I had about Wild Swan, although that reminds me - we ordered that pump for the 1bbl kit ages ago and it still hasn't arrived.

  8. The Wild Swans are a good band from Liverpool. Started in the early 80's by Paul Simpson and Ged Quinn (formerly in The Teardrop Explodes). Went quiet for a while, and they're now playing and recording again...

  9. The dyers mark their swans with one nick on the beak, the vintners with two, which gave rise to the inn sign Swan with Two Nicks (later changed, in many cases, by folk etymology to Swan with Two Necks).

    BN, you should take six cases of this beer out to Coole Park in Galway, drink one, take a picture of the remaining bottles in the park, and post it under the appropriate title on the internet, just to confuse the feck out of Yeats fans.

  10. That bit of literary heritage has already been plundered by a cream liqueur company.

  11. Shame. Did you know most of the alcohol in "Irish cream liqueurs" (including Bailey's) comes from fermenting whey left over from cheese-making? They put just enough real whiskey in it to enable it to appear on the label as one of the ingredients …

  12. I've certainly heard that the whiskey is more than a little tokenistic. Declan who used to work in the Bull & Castle and Against the Grain had a fantastic cream liqueur recipe he inherited from his mum. It required what tasted like a fairly generous dose of poitín.