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How Lockdown in 2020 gave us some ginspiration!

This week we released 100 bottles of a one-off gin made with wild ale and foraged flowers. Read the story behind it below and head to the web shop to grab a bottle now!
Cast your mind back to 2018, to simpler times. Two friends with a mission to showcase the potential of amazing ingredients on our doorstep in the way we knew best – beer!

 

A lot has happened since then. Running a brewery was tough going even before the global pandemic, but one thing that hasn’t changed is our passion for local. We are still using the amazing produce grown on our doorstep in new and unique ways, to challenge perceptions of those ingredients and flavours. This will always be our mission, regardless of the format and the situation. And our new gin hopefully proves that...

 

Wild Flower Gin!

When the UK hit full lockdown in March 2020 and the pubs closed we lost 80% of our trade. Pretty much all of that was tied in up hundreds of prefilled kegs we could no longer sell. If Yonder was going to avoid pouring all that beer down the drain, some creative thinking was in order. The answer we landed on was distillation.

 

We approached our friends at Circumstance Distillery in Bristol, a gin producer we love, to see if it was possible to distil our beers into something delicious. They were having as rough a time as us, so they were up for trying anything.

 

The first step was to blend the contents of all the kegs we had, then ferment it dry with our super blend of yeast that gives a lot of our wild ales that unique Yonder flavour. We then sent that blended wild ale to Circumstance, and attached to that vessel was a package containing a variety of foraged flowers. Chamomile collected from behind the brewery, honeysuckle from my parents garden (thanks Mum) and sumac from their neighbours garden (ssssh!). Then there’s water mint flowers from the Somerset Levels, fennel from the Mendip Hills, and Yarrow from the fields behind my house.

 

Circumstance added it all to the still and topped off the gin basket with a hefty dose of Juniper, before starting the distillation process.

 

We didn’t really have any idea how it would go, but we were still surprised by how delicious our Wild Flower Gin has turned out. The spice of juniper is there but not overpowering, acting as a fantastic base of the herbaceous, menthol aromas of the wild botanicals, and the lingering sweetness and acidity we put down to wild ale base. It has been described as ‘a beast of a gin’, and we agree.

 

So no, it’s not beer, but it’s delicious and displays everything Yonder set out to do – distilled.
Grab a bottle from our web shop before it’s all gone and try out some of our recipes below.

 

Serving suggestions

We’ve had some fun experimenting with it since it arrived, trying to work out the best pairings and recipes that help its wild character come to the fore. Here are our favourites.

 

Raspberry Something Something

The first thing we tried was a blend with our showstopper, Raspberry Gose. It took a few attempts to nail this because with any good cocktail you need the right blend of sweet, sour and booze. Obviously, taste is also subjective so feel free to tweak this to suit you, but we are pretty confident that this blend of flavours is much more than the sum of its parts.

 

Ingredients:
  • 60ml Wildflower Gin
  • 30ml Elderflower Liqueur
  • 1 can of Raspberry Gose
  • Squeeze of lemon (to taste)
Method:
  • Add the Wildflower Gin and Elderflower liqueur to a tall glass (pre-chilled in the freezer is always a good bet, but adding ice is also an option)
  • Top up with a can of Raspberry Gose (you should be able to fit most of it in there, so just neck the rest whilst no one is looking)
  • Stir to mix and add a squeeze of lemon juice to balance the acidity (1 tbsp worked well for me)
  • Drink and imagine that you’re skipping through a meadow in mid-summer

Gin & Tonic (without a twist)

Every year we always end up with more rhubarb than we know what to do with, so inevitably some ends up in the freezer. This year I was organised enough to cut it in to chunks ahead of time, and luckily they were about the size of ice cubes…
The fruity acidity of rhubarb is so unique. The compound is oxalic acid and is the same thing that gives Sorrel leaves that distinctive apple-skin-tang. This tang is perfect for replacing citrus fruits in your G&T and the best part is the juices at the end, when the rhubarb has defrosted. Delicious!

 

Ingredients:
  • 60ml Wildflower Gin
  • Frozen Rhubarb (ice cube size chunks)
  • Sparkling Tonic Water (whichever brand you prefer)
  • NO ICE - the rhubarb does the job!
Method:
  • Put each ingredient in the glass in whatever order you want. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter.
  • Drink

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the gin as much as we enjoyed making (and drinking) it.

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