Wander Brewing opened in Bellingham, Washington back in 2013 but, like this website, their roots are straight up Midwest, as the owners, a husband and wife duo, both grew up in the Midwest and met in college at the University of Iowa.
Since opening they have won a plethora of medals and awards, including four golds at the GABF, two golds at this year’s 2022 World Beer Cup, and they were even named the Large Brewery of the Year at the 2018 Washington Beer Awards.
And today, I get to try my first ever beer from them - Lucid Dream.
Lucid Dream is a New England IPA brewed with Ekuanot Cryo and hand-picked Amarillo hops. It clocks in with a solid 6.2% ABV and it was decently priced at $6/can. However, if you’re in Bellingham, it’s much cheaper at the brewery - costing just $16 for a four-pack.
It poured a bright but hazy golden straw color with a decent amount of sediment but very minimal head building up. In fact, there was never more than half a finger of eggshell white foam atop the beer and what little there was quickly fizzled down into a thin ring around the edge of the glass.
The aroma was packed with dank and juicy tropical fruit characteristics. Stone fruits, like apricot and peach, led the way with some pineapple, pomegranate, and guava sitting nicely underneath. The grist offered up some light notes of flaked wheat and oats and there was also a hint of hoppy bitterness to it. But, all-in-all, it was a very sweet and juicy smelling brew.
Almost immediately my tongue was met with a rush of dryness as some pithy citrus fruits landed on my taste buds. There was a quick flash of orange and grapefruit rind before the insanely juicy notes from the smell began to kick in.
Guava hit the hardest and took control quickly with some lighter pineapple notes following suit. I really liked this beer’s pineapple flavor, as it wasn’t the acidic/tart pineapple that some beers have but, rather, a sweet and juicy pop of the berry flavor (yes, pineapples are categorized as berries…how crazy is that!?!).
While it’s the guava and pineapple’s show, the stone fruits do appear briefly midway through. Some nice peach and apricot notes are accompanied by a bit of honeydew melon and a light flaked wheat flavor.
On the backend, the hops add a bit more of that citrus rind bitterness and that dry feeling begins to creep forward again. The beer ends up finishing mostly clean with just some lingering hop qualities and an increasingly dry mouthfeel the more you drink.
Lucid Dream is a very soft and crushable beer but it does sit on the heavier side so, although you could drink it fast (and I certainly did), it’s best to slow down and enjoy it some more.
It’s a very well made NEIPA. Juicy, soft, pillowy, and very low on the bitterness. Just a bit on the dry side of things. But I could still drink this beer for days. Well done, Wander…well done!