Wild Heaven Craft Beers | Wise Blood IPA
ABV: 6.2% | IBU: 55
While many mid-century writers were (in)famous for their non-teetotalling ways and general bad behavior, Flannery O’Connor lived a quiet writer’s life at Andalusia, a small dairy farm just outside Milledgeville, Georgia. She wrote in the mornings, napped in the afternoons, and cared for her peacocks. A victim of lupus, she passed away at 39, and other than communion wine, Ms. O’Connor did not drink.
Why, then, has Atlanta’s Wild Heaven Craft Beers (Avondale Estates, proper), a nearly six-year old operation, dubbed its debut IPA – Wise Blood IPA after an O’Connor novel? Don’t worry about that just yet. First, enjoy the beer.
To do this, the folks at Wild Heaven suggest pairing the beer with wings, fish & chips, or perhaps brunch or burgers. Respectfully, this writer disagrees. Instead, go about enjoying this fruit-take of an IPA in the following manner:
1) Buy a six-pack, available in cans.
2) Find a bookstore — preferably local and independent — and purchase Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood (1952).
3) Find some shade — preferably a rocking chair-lined porch, similar to the one where O’Connor lived — and settle in.
4) Open your can of Wise Blood IPA, pour into a glass, and observe the orange amber color and the light fruit and hop nose.
5) Sip. Note the light hop taste, until the tropical fruit flavors push through and linger, finishing with a pine/citrus combo that does not detract from the typical IPA bitterness. (And that, fellow beer-lovers, is the selling point: a delicious mix of hops and fruit, maintaining a nice balance with each.)
5) Open the book, meet Hazel Motes and Enoch Emery. It is Mr. Emery who claims his Blood is of the Wise variety, but unlike Wild Heaven, he wishes not to share it.
6) Savor the brilliance of well-rendered art you now hold in each hand.
7) Repeat 1-6 as needed.
Call the novel what you will — Southern Gothic, Southern Grotesque, low comedy with high concept, or just plain awesome — Wise Blood is an odd humdinger of a book that pairs perfectly with Wild Heaven’s newest offering, a deliciously odd humdinger of an IPA. Much like the novel, it’s one of a kind, with fruit notes and light hops.
Finally, you’ll have to read the book to understand Enoch Emery’s Wise Blood, and why, at one point, he ends up in a gorilla suit. Whatever you do, be sure to include the wings, fish & chips, brunch or burgers. Sounds like a great pairing.