Idles x Wiper and True: Joy as an Act of Resistance
“WHAT IS TASTE? THE MOST VISCERAL MICROCOSM OF JOYS THAT CAN TAKE YOU ANYWHERE FOR A SECOND. WE SAW THE HONOUR OF CREATING WITH WIPER AND TRUE AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE YOU INTO OUR WORLD WITH BEER AS ITS VEHICLE: VIOLET AS THE FLORAL TRIBUTE TO HONOUR BEAUTY IN THE FACE OF DEATH AND BLACKCURRANT BECAUSE WE ARE FRUITY.” IDLES
We’ve always enjoyed creating something unique and Bristol-centric for Bristol Beer week. This year we turned to a feature of the city that has drawn many of us here, inspired us, and makes Bristol a brilliant place to run a business: creativity. We decided that we wanted to work with some of the city’s creative institutions and brew a set of beers to celebrate creativity as a concept.
Collaborating with other brewers is commonplace in our community, it offers the opportunity to explore new ground, to push boundaries or refine shared recipes and elevate styles with shared knowledge. It’s also a good excuse to hang out with friends in the busy world of beer.
Looking beyond our friends in the brewing community for collaborations in the wider creative community has been, in our experience, equally as rewarding and created some of the beers we’re most proud of. Working with other industries opens our minds to new approaches and gives us a broader language. Talking to a coffee roaster brings our attention to acidity in beer. If we invite a winemaker to a tasting all of a sudden we’ll be discussing tannins and minerality. We’ve learnt from gin makers and their knowledge of ancient botanicals. All of these things contribute to the way we approach our recipe design and our process, from the minerality now found in our top selling beer Kaleidoscope, to our use of juniper berries in a double IPA.
These collaborations do however come with a sense of trepidation, and stepping out of the food and flavour world entirely throws up a whole new set of questions. How will these creative forces bring their stamp to the brewing process? How will an artist or organisation express taste? Will our creative processes align?
With IDLES, everything fell into place in the space of the first phone call. The band had spent a lot of time thinking about this, thinking about beer and flavour, and thinking about symbolism. They are clearly a group of people who consider, appreciate and discuss flavour a lot, as you may notice with their regular eloquent and surreal tasting notes of chocolate milk from various countries on their tours.
Lead singer Joe explained how flowers had become significant in the visual identity of IDLES, their suggestion of femininity and association with love, and with death, are representative of themes explored by their music. The process of grief has been focal in their albums. Violets in particular felt significant to them, and after tasting a violet gelato on tour the band began to think about flavour as well as imagery. “It was one of the most intriguing, delicious things I’ve ever tasted” recalled Joe.
He went on to describe how a recent favourite beer of the band is Lindemans Cassis. This Lambic ale undergoes a wild secondary fermentation on blackcurrants and the resulting beer has a sharp tartness and satisfying sweet complexity. The band discussed these two flavours pairing together, the rich fruit of the berries and the delicate aromas of violets, and a recipe began coming together.
We chose to brew an India Pale Ale, a strong, hoppy and fruity beer that could handle and balance such striking flavours and aromas. We chose a simple malt bill and hops that we know have their own wild floral aromas. The only ingredient we added to the mix was Hibiscus, to lend a herbal berry complexity.
The concept came together very quickly and the band came down to brew with us. It’s been a real pleasure to work with them and focusing on symbolism behind flavour, rather than just flavour for flavours sake.
Joy as an Act of Resistance, a violet and blackcurrant India Pale Ale, will be available from Saturday 8th September when we’ll be celebrating the launch of our Brewed In Bristol beer series with a party at our brewery tap room. The beer will also be available in bottle and keg in bottle shops and bars across Bristol and nationwide.