Beer Review: JESTER KING WANDERFLORA

Beer Review: JESTER KING WANDERFLORA

The Wanderflora presents itself as a complex and ambitious beer, aiming to replicate the traditional Belgian lambic style. Pouring into a saison stemware, the 750mL bottle reveals a hazy pale golden liquid topped with a commendably persistent white foam. The visual appeal, reminiscent of whipped cream, sets the stage for what promises to be an intriguing tasting experience.

Aroma

Approaching the beer, the nose does little to showcase the promised herbal and unique qualities. Instead, it offers notes of wet dough and freshly squeezed lime juice, with hints of saltwater and perfumey satsuma orange emerging as it warms. While inviting, the aroma falls short of delivering the anticipated funky and distinct characteristics, leaving room for improvement.

Taste

Delving into the Wanderflora, a 50/50 blend of bright citric acid and milky lactic acid dominates the front palate. Mid-palate, leathery white grapefruit introduces an acid-tannin combination reminiscent of Belgian lambic. Surprisingly, the finish is clean, with minimal lingering acidity, placing the overall acid level at a balanced 6 out of 10. The addition of buttery oak barrel adds a touch of oiliness to the aftertaste, steering clear of the overwhelming lemon juice often associated with sour ales.

Mouthfeel

The beer’s mouthfeel is on point, with spot-on carbonation contributing to a satisfying drinking experience. The overall acidity, while well-balanced, lacks the expected spontaneity and funkiness associated with spontaneously fermented ales. The Wanderflora, though technically flawless, leaves room for exploration in the realm of mouthfeel dynamics.

Overall

Jester King’s Wanderflora, released in 2018, stands as a commendable endeavor to replicate traditional Belgian lambics. Despite falling into predictable aromas and flavors, it excels in technical execution, earning praise for its cleanliness and balance. The beer caters to enthusiasts of sour blondes and Belgian geuze, hitting the marks for those seeking a more straightforward experience. However, those anticipating unconventional botanical flavors may find Wanderflora falling short of expectations. While technically impeccable, it lacks the “terroir” of native microfauna and the herbal character described, leaving room for disappointment in that aspect.

In the grand spectrum of craft beers, Wanderflora secures its place as a niche offering, showcasing Jester King’s mastery of a complicated style. For aficionados of sour beers, it undoubtedly holds its ground among the best, but for those craving an avant-garde exploration of flavors, this may not be the ideal choice. In the end, Wanderflora succeeds in meeting certain expectations while leaving others unfulfilled.