You’re familiar with the tale, of course: Upright citizen Henry Jekyll, searching for a way to indulge his more unseemly vices, develops a serum that transforms him into the fiendish Edward Hyde. Havoc ensues, a few people die, the Broadway musical becomes a smash hit.
The guys at Beavertown Brewery in London must also be fans of the strange case of Jekyll and Hyde. Together with Danish brewery To Øl, they’ve crafted a pair of beers that capture the story’s spirit by splitting—and mutating—the same base wort.
In one bottle we have Dr. Jekyll: civilized, subtle, gentlemanly. A base of pale malted barley and wheat lends the brew a hue of fuzzy apricots, while fermentation with Duvel yeast as well as lactobacillus and Brettanomyces reveals a hint of devilish funk underneath an aroma of kiwi, oak, Sweet Tarts and pear. While the flavor is led by lactic tartness and accented by sharp lemon, honey and sour peach, the finish deposits more grapelike sweetness on the tongue than there was on the sip. This is likely due to the several months Jekyll spent aging in Muscat wine barrels—the doctor always was a man who enjoyed his wine.
In the other bottle: Hyde. Though half of the wort that makes up this brew is the same used in Jekyll, it has a dark side; its other hemisphere consists of an intense, dark ale made with beechwood-smoked malt, chocolate malt and roasted barley. The two sides were combined, then fermented with yeast from Duvel and McEwans, and aged in Speyside whiskey casks. As a result, Hyde is far more beastly than its counterpart, ink-black and stuffed with an aroma that lays mossy, smoky peat over cherries and chocolate syrup. While the beer is certainly boozy (at nearly 14%) and its stout component contributes oily smoke notes, it has a gentle edge, as if the Jekyll within is struggling to tame Hyde’s aggression.
Two very different beers, obviously, but with threads that tie them together in flavor and theme. I’m looking forward to the next novella-inspired brew—an “Old Man and the Sea”-salt gose, perhaps?