You walk into the brewery, take your tour, and go read the menu. You see Stouts, IPA’s, Ales, Lagers, Wits, and a …Sour? A sour beer? What does that mean? The brewer purposely made the beer acidic to taste tart? Hmmmmm…….
Bacteria are what give the sour beers their distinct taste. Lactobacillus and Pediococcus are the two bacteria that turn the sugars into lactic acid and increase acidity. Brettanomyces is wild yeast that balances the beer with an earthiness. So how do they taste?
At first sip, I thought, “Oooh, too tart!” But then I was asked by the brewer, “Do you like wine?” I replied, “Yes.” He said, “Take another sip and think about wine.” Wow! He was right. The sour took on an entirely new profile. Comparing it to wine, rather than a sour or tart drink, had me appreciating it a lot more. It was crisp, clean, refreshing, tart and fruity. Yay! A brand new way to enjoy a beer.
Sours can be a great alternative to those who don’t love beer but do like wine. For me, they’re a brew to slowly sip and savor the flavor of just one. I must admit, I don’t regularly order a sour. Having it as a sidecar, or just asking for a sample is about my extent. This year I will stop being a sourpuss and find a sweetness for sours.
Now sit back and enjoy your flight!