Ten Sour Beers to Try in 2014
Craft brewed sour beers typically go through long aging periods with wild yeasts and lactobacillus souring cultures. It is very common to do the aging in oak barrels, as wild Brettanomyces yeast thrives in the dark, woody environment. Brett yeast comes in several strains which can add earthy notes, tropical notes, and tart flavors. Lactobacillus cultures work very slowly, but can add very refined sour flavors to beer after months of aging.
Twenty years ago, the only sour beers on shelves would have been a few Belgian Lambics, but since that time American craft brewers have gone sour-crazy. They are brewing sour wheat beers (Berliner Weisse, Gratzer, Gose), sour fruit beers, sour red, brown, and blonde ales, and sour stouts. Belgian brewers continue to offer great sour Lambics, Sour Flanders Red Ales, and Oud Bruin sour brown ales.
Brewing great sour beers is a true craft, and we have selected ten special sour beers worth seeking out this year.
The Bruery Sour in the Rye (8.7%)
Barrel-Aged Sour Rye Beer brewed with 40% rye malts and aged for one year in oak barrels with wild yeast and souring lacto cultures. Crisp and sour with a dry refreshing finish. | Brewed in Placentia, CA
Deep red colored sour ale aged in oak barrels for 18 months. Flavors of sour dark fruit, earthy oak, cherry, vanilla, and light caramel malt. High sourness that is very refined and refreshing. | Brewed in the Flanders Region of Belgium
Jester King Funk Metal (8.2%)
Barrel-Aged Sour Stout brewed with dark malts and aged in oak barrels with wild yeast and souring lactobacillus cultures. Flavors of dark caramel, sour dark fruit, and oak. Dry tart finish. | Brewed in Austin, TX
Barrel-Aged Sour Biere de Garde with flavors of ripe fruit, earthy oak, and sweet caramel. Finishes with a very refined smooth sourness. The high alcohol level is very well hidden behind all the complex flavors. | Brewed in Switzerland
Barrel-Aged Peach Farmhouse Saison aged in oak barrels with wild Brettanomyces yeast and fresh peaches. Crisp and earthy with flavors of tart peaches. Dry, refreshing finish. | Brewed in Hood River, OR
Rodenbach Grand Cru (6%)
Barrel-Aged Flander Red Sour Ale aged up to two years in oak vats. Very refined sourness with notes of dark fruit and oak. | Brewed in Belgium
Sour German Style Wheat Beer aged in oak barrels with Riesling grapes and souring cultures. Light, crisp, and tart with a very refreshing finish. | Brewed in New Glarus, WI
Cisco Brewers Monomoy Kriek (6.7%)
Barrel-Aged Sour Cherry Ale modeled after the Flanders Red style. Aged for months in French oak with fresh cherries. Tart and complex with a dry refreshing finish. | Brewed on Nantucket Island, MA
VanderGhinste Oud Bruin (5.5%)
West Flanders Sour Brown Ale aged for 18 months in oak. Smooth sour flavors with notes of caramel, oak, and earthy yeast. Refreshing finish. | Brewed in the Flanders Region of Belgium
Lindemans Gueuze Cuvee Rene (5.5%)
Belgian Lambic Gueuze sour blended ale aged in oak. Crisp and effervescent with refreshing sour flavors. Widely available and a great introduction to sour beers. | Brewed in Belgium
View over 100 craft brewed Barrel-Aged Sour Beers.