Life’s A Peach: On Lactobacillus, Smoked Peaches & Our Love of Pastore
The collaboration wishlist
It’s no secret that most breweries have a wishlist of other breweries with whom they’d love to make a beer. Whilst in some cases these are a bit of a longshot (the monastic team behind Orval, for example), there are some collaborations for which we’ll work as hard as we can to make happen. For a long time, one such brewery on our hitlist has been Pastore; a small operation based in Waterbeach, just outside Cambridge. Run by the talented father & son team Chris and Ben, alongside their new lead brewer Dan, Pastore specialise in producing mixed fermentation and sour beers, often with the inclusion of mind-bogglingly delicious and unusual combinations of fruit.
An introduction to Pastore
It was our e-Commerce Manager Tom who first introduced a lot of the Wiper and True team to these wild cards from the east. A mixed fermentation aficionado with his finger on the pulse of all the latest releases, Tom is always sharing the tastiest recommendations with us; his collection of 750ml bottles would quicken the pulse of even the most specialist of bottle shop owners. A couple of years back, one such recommendation was for Pastore’s Orange Zest Noir, a mixed fermentation porter aged in stainless steel fermentation vessels with Pastore’s signature house culture, and plenty of vibrant orange zest. It was a truly unusual yet deliciously satisfying beer that really piqued our interest, lodging this exciting young brewery on our (ever-growing) shortlist of dream collaborators and keeping us coming back for more.
Rewind even further back to 2015, though, and we encounter a classic piece of the serendipitous connection so often found in the seemingly very small craft brewing world, when a young man called Dan emailed in to Wiper and True. Dan was our Commercial Director Martin’s sister’s friend’s son (are you following?), and he wanted to head over to Bristol and join us on a brewday. A keen beerlover, Dan wanted to take his first steps in pursuing a career as a brewer, and who were we to stand in the way of that?! Our then head brewer Will Hartley showed Dan the ropes, and that was that - or so we thought.
The Wiper and True Barrel Store
The Wiper and True Barrel Store
Fast forward to spring 2021, when Wiper and True’s mixed fermentation project, the Barrel Store, was firmly underway. We’d been hard at work honing and improving our approach to brewing with wild yeasts and mixed cultures, and had made huge leaps forward in understanding and harnessing these often unpredictable ingredients. There were some great beers under our belts - and a couple of pretty odd ones that never saw the light of day. We firmly felt that time had come to begin sharing what we’d learned so far in this voyage of discovery, and so we started to invite other breweries into the Barrel Store to explore what happened when our understanding intersected with others. This led to collaborations with some of our absolute favourite, world-leading breweries, from Falmouth’s finest Verdant to the hoppy legends at DEYA to our Bristol compadres Left Handed Giant.
Wiper and True x Pastore
Guess who was also on that list? Reader, you guessed it: Pastore. We were absolutely delighted when Chris, Ben and Dan were up for a collaboration beer that would combine both breweries’ love of mixed culture brewing, and we got down to the important business of plotting a recipe. Will Davies, our Barrel Store Manager had been floating the notion of a smoked pineapple beer, and the Pastore crew were also into a smoked fruit beer. In the end, we settled on a beer that would recreate the incredibly broad, multifaceted range of flavours offered by barbecued peaches: sweet, smokey, softly yielding, a little sharp and just utterly refreshing.
The most fundamental part of any collaboration beer: the awkward photo
With the concept agreed, Ben and Dan paid us a visit at the Barrel Store to get cracking, and posed for the obligatory awkward collaboration photo. Once Pastore’s Lactobacillus had soured the wort it was chilled down to the optimum temperature for our house yeast blend to work its magic and complete the primary fermentation. Already tasting great, we separated a portion of this base beer off into a separate vessel and combined it with a hundred kilos of hot smoked fresh peaches along with an equal amount of cold smoked fresh peaches. This was allowed to ferment for a week before combining the intensely flavoured liquor back into the main tank. We then boosted the peach tones even further with a hundred kilos of fresh peach puree.
Sourcing the peaches was a real joy; keen to stay as local as possible we reached out to Valley Smokehouse in Axbridge (near the Mendips). Run by a small team of absolute pros, the Valley Smokehouse crew advised us on the nuances in flavour profiles that hot and cold smoking could bring to the fruits.
Smoked Peach Sour
The finished beer has been resting in bottles for just over four weeks now, and is tasting utterly wonderful as we release it into the wild. We're really pleased with its delightfully soft mouthfeel and the gentle tartness that perfectly balances the complex smoked peach flavours.
Peach Sour is available to order online in Build A Box, to drink on draft at our taproom, and to buy from good bottle shops. We'll also be doing a live mini tasting of the beer at our Taproom this Friday 15th October if you're in Bristol and want to hear more about the beer. And finally, if you’ve never tried any Pastore beers before we STRONGLY recommend getting your hands on some - their Waterbeach Weisse is currently available on our website and is glorious.