As soon as that final summer Bank Holiday came and went, it felt like Autumn truly arrived. The nights have started to draw in; Halloween decorations of various levels of tat are popping up in the shops; and some of us turn our beer tastes to the dark side after six months of pales and lagers.

Whether you embrace the autumn like a returning friend, or scorn its arrival on your doorstep, there’s no ignoring it. And autumn, for Northern Monk, means one thing – Dark & Wild.

Dark & Wild is back, our festival celebration of all things sour, funky, thick, smooth, strong and everything in between. And this year’s is looking like the best yet.

We sat down with Cal Richardson, our Brewery Events and Festivals Manager, to talk all things D&W.

“It’s going to be an amazing festival” Cal says without hesitation. “We’ve got around 30 of the best stout and sour producers in the world descending on our Old Flax Store for it, and we’re really excited about who we’ve got coming.

“And there’s a tonne of Dark and Wild first timers coming like 450 North, Burley Oak, Cycle, Duration, Fierce, Holy Goat, Pastore, Pomona Island, Three Hills, Cyclic Beer Farm, Nerd Brewing and Funky Fluid.”

The actual list went on, but I’ve got a word limit here. With so many awesome breweries, is it possible to pick one as a main highlight? No, frankly.

“We are super excited about Cycle coming over from Florida. Cycle have been long leading the charge for the best stouts in the world, especially their huge range and variety of imperial stouts. I can’t wait to see what they bring over.

“Their fellow Americans 450 North, from Indiana, have a strong slushy game so that should be fun to try. Closer to home, from Ireland, Land & Labour make some phenomenal mixed-ferm delights so I can’t wait to see what they bring either.

“Then we’ve got Chien Bleu and Á Tue-Tête from Switzerland and course repping the UK, Crossover Blendery, Holy Goat and Duration will be here with their own cracking beers. Really, we got loads of brilliant breweries coming… that’s the headline.”

And as stout season swings around once more, and the experimentation with sours keeps everyone on their toes, what are the trends or next big thing across the two styles?

“The past couple of years there has been an influx of the big smoothie and pastry sours. People like Burley Oak, another cracking US brewery, and 450 North, are really pushing these styles to be the best they can be.

“Dark beer season is just starting so I’m excited to see what the latest trend is going to be for them in 2022 and into next year.

“Dark & Wild will be awesome. Amazing beer, good food, loud music.”

Why not come along and see for yourself?

Dark & Wild 2022 will take place on Saturday 29th October at our Old Flax Store in Leeds. At time of writing, there are a limited number of tickets available here for the evening session. The day time session has SOLD OUT.

For up-to-the-minute update, follow the festival on Twitter and Instagram.

This article first featured in The Scribe, the exclusive Northern Monk magazine for our Patrons Society subscribers. Join our Society today.