One of the most remarkable feats I’ve witnessed in U.K. craft beer over the past couple years is the transformation of Newcastle’s Wylam Brewery from regional stalwart into one of the nation’s most respected modern breweries.
What’s perhaps most impressive about this is that Wylam has maintained its presence and reputation regionally throughout this transition. Take its Jakehead IPA as an example of this - a beer that’s perfect on cask or keg, and will appease traditionalists and fans of modern beer alike. And by making the former Palace of Arts in Newcastle’s Exhibition Park the home of its brewery and taproom, it has cemented itself as both one of the north-eastern city’s cultural, as well as culinary, institutions.
The Wylam beer I am reviewing today does not play on any of those traditional sensibilities, however. Child In Time is a modern IPA that is - like so many others - in the tradition of the New England style. As in: it’s hazy and juicy as all hell. What’s interesting about this beer in particular though, is its utilisation of cryo hops. The term “cryo” immediately makes me think of its references within science fiction, such as with characters like Futurama’s Philip J Fry or Sylvester Stallone pulling one of his best ever performances in the seminal classic, Demolition Man, as they find themselves unfrozen in an uncertain future. At a stretch it also makes me recall Sly’s good friend Arnold Schwarzenegger in his unfortunate turn as Mr. Freeze in 1997s Batman and Robin… but let’s not get crazy here.
Unlike these examples, however, there is nothing fictional about cryo hops. These are very real indeed, making use of the latest in hop processing technology to produce an intensely aromatic hop powder which, in turn, allows brewers to produce intensely flavoured and aromatic beers. Perfect for contemporary styles such as NEIPA.
Child In Time makes use of Centennial, Amarillo and Citra cryo hops - varieties that, for me at least, predominantly invoke notes of lemon zest, navel orange and pink grapefruit respectively. This is very much the case in this beer. It’s an intense melange of pithy, yet juicy citrus flavours, with just enough dryness and bitterness to keep your palate ticking over, so that it begins to demand your next sip shortly after your last. When I drink this style of beer I don’t want it to be claggy or cloying, which this beer is not. Instead it’s intense, yet clean, and very delicious.
I’m very glad Wylam decided to pursue these modern styles, and that they do it with such finesse.
You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis as UK editor of Good Beer Hunting and on Twitter @totalcurtis. Pick up one of the very last cans of Wylam’s hugely popular Child In Time in store or online.