Your Expanding Beer Palate: Sour Beers
Ok, I admit I will try about anything. I have drunk Pabst, Stroh’s and Stag, I have drunk barley wine and I have drunk many a stout. I like beer. Generally, I prefer a nice Guinness when out, but I will try other beers. The other day, I got a sample of Duchesse De Bourgogne from a bar called Stout in my neighborhood. I immediately ordered another. Then another. Then another. Then I went back to the bar another time and had a few more.
I had never had a sour beer before, and this is the first time that I remember drinking a beer that I think could unseat Guinness as my top beer of preference. As I looked around online, I saw that the New York Times and Los Angeles Times had already started to explore this style of beer. The key was the New York Times mentioning the 119 entries in the Great American Beer Festival and I knew that I had a starting point for finding more of these great beers to try.
As a fan of Fat Tire and the New Belgium Brewing Company, my first look for another one to try was Eric’s Ale. Unfortunately it isn’t available at the moment per their Libation Locator. Which, reading about the time spent aging sour beers in barrels for up to three years, the lack of availability makes some sense, though it doesn’t temper my disappointment.
Next on the list was The Lost Abbey’s Red Poppy Ale. Just the words “a veritable celebration of Sour Cherries” makes me excited for the mid-winter release that should be coming up any moment. Since their beers are available mostly in the west as well as in the Chicago, Philly and Boston metro areas, it might not be easy to find for most of you.
Next is the Russian River Brewing Company’s Temptation. Not only was it the silver winner in the Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer category last year, it has five other places in various beer competitions since 2002. Besides Philadelphia, it is generally only available in California and the western U.S.
Unfortunately, looking at the other winners from places like the Snake River Brewing or the Bullfrog Brewery, their sour beers are not currently available. However, looking at retailer BevMo!, there are listings for Monk’s Café Sour Ale and another New Belgium offering, La Folie Sour Brown Ale, but that’s it. Trust me though, even though they are hard to find, keep an eye out at local craft beer outlets and your favorite draft places for sour beers and jump in with a taste when you can. You won’t be disappointed.
About Jason McClain Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."