Brewed in Bristol: A Bristol Beer Factory & Wiper and True Collab

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Brewed In Bristol: Bristol Beer Factory x Wiper and True

Words by Michael Wiper
Brewed in Bristol series

In the Summer of 2018 we started work on a project that came to be known as Brewed In Bristol, a series of beers to showcase the creativity and collaborative nature of our unique city. We drew up a list of companies, people and organisations we would love to work with on producing a beer. We were thinking a lot about partners outside of the brewing industry and outside of the usual collaboration format. But there was one brewing partnership that kept topping the list, and one we couldn’t resist putting a proposal to – The Bristol Beer Factory.

Our history goes back longer than they even know about! When they launched in 2004 I became an instant admirer and BBF became my go to cask ale with Gold and Seven. As a keen homebrewer I went on tours of their Ashton Gate site. I brewed a small batch of a beer heavily inspired by their Acer for a friend’s birthday (he was a massive fan). I dropped into the brewery and a then BBF brewer Brett (who went on to found the Wild Beer Co) very kindly gave me the essential, and enigmatic Sorachi Ace hops and some vital tips on brewing techniques. This was my first real introduction to the industry and the buzz around the place was an inspiration for starting to brew commercially.

Then came Southville Hop, the local legend of an IPA that epitomises the era of small independent breweries starting to produce West Coast influenced beers with big American hop aromas, bursting with flavour. I fell in love with that beer!

Years later, within the first few months of Wiper and True, we were invited to join a business mentoring scheme and paired up with their former Head Brewer, Chris Kay. Chris and I met for evening beers and talked through all kinds of things around beer and the industry. He helped me work through several teething problems and was always on hand for the inevitable production issues arising from brewing in multiple places. I felt very privileged to have guidance from a brewery that I had looked up to since they’d started. It was one of the many early signs of camaraderie and unity that is such a foundation of the brewing scene.

As both teams have grown so has the friendship and fortunately for us, mutual respect, which shaped our approach to the collaboration. Rather than brewing a single collab beer, we decided to take on our favourite facets of each others styles and bring our own twists to them. We made our own cover songs of each others beers.

We’ve always been admirers of their renowned cask beers, and wanted to learn more about them along the way, and they were keen on taking on some of our keg IPA features. So we devised two beers and two brew dates, one in each brewery. Our brew teams ran tasting panels on the chosen beers and wrote draft recipes from the tasting, without having seen the brewing records. We then shared the actual recipes and compared notes, tweaked and refined.

At Wiper and True the BBF team came down and brewed our take on their Pale Ale Independence. We upped the alcohol to 6.8%, fermented it with a New England yeast strain to promote big fruit flavours, esters, and an alluring haze. We used their Amber malt that we’d never used before, and hopped with Junga and Nugget, beautiful hops we are unfamiliar with except when drinking Independence! We then added a new hop product called Cryo Hop – a powder extracted from hop plants at minus 35 degrees C that concentrates the fruit notes in hops and discards the more planty, green features. The result packs a huge punch.  

At the Beer Factory we brewed a 4.2% Cask version of our staple India Pale Ale Quintet. The team there took on the big hop aromas, the large volume of oats, wheat and extra pale malts and transformed them into a session-able BBF version using their own yeast strain and added lactose to the bill, lending a smooth mouthfeel, promoting body and fruit notes. It’s a real challenge translating that body and flavour into a lower alcohol cask beer, and we think they absolutely nailed it.

Quartet Session IPA, the Bristol Beer Factory take on our Quintet IPA will be available in cask across Bristol and further beyond from today. Co-dependence IPA, the Wiper and True twist on Bristol Beer Factory’s Independence IPA will be available in keg from Thursday 31st January.

In celebration of the release of our collaborations, we’ll be taking over Bristol Beer Factory’s tap room on Thursday 31st January. We’ll be bringing the party atmosphere from our corner of St Werburghs to their brewery on North Street. The Wiper and True team will be out in force and both collaborations will be pouring alongside the beers that inspired them.