We hear y'all like pilsner? This recipe comes from founder-brewer Matt Smith at Wandering Soul in Beverly, Massachusetts. Wandering Soul has won a strong following for juicy New England–style beers such as the Melody Maker hazy pale and the Dark Clouds Must Pass triple IPA—but when asked what beer he’d like to share with fellow brewers, he chose his Czech-inspired pils, Future Life. Naturally.
While his beers are highly regarded, Wandering Soul is also known for its unusual origin story, and for Smith’s tireless efforts to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and the impact of grief. He started Wandering Soul as part of his journey to recover from the stillborn death of of his first child, Melody—for whom Melody Maker is named. Not long after, he brewed a hazy double IPA, Things We Don’t Say, to call attention to the stigma around discussing the trauma of loss. That beer inspired an ongoing open-source collaboration to raise funds and awareness for mental health issues.
More recently, suffering from a case of burnout, Smith announced plans to put Wandering Soul on hold in late 2022. “It’s definitely not discussed openly enough,” he told Kate Bernot for her article on burnout in the industry, for our Industry All Access subscribers. “The alcohol industry and the beer industry, it can swallow you whole and spit you out,” he says. “That’s what happened to me.”
Yet he opted to revive the company in May 2023. “I was able to separate myself from it,” he says, “and almost as soon as I did, I realized how much I missed it, and the healing that occurred at Wandering Soul wasn’t occurring anywhere else. I really needed that energy.”
Recipe: Wandering Soul Future Life Pilsner
Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 72%