Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sour Revolution

We can't keep ignoring the facts. The tides of change are pulling beerophiles in new directions and as animals such as sea urchins and lobsters have been observed to grow thicker shells when exposed to more acidic waters, so must Nitch firm up the palate for a change. IPAs are getting more and more bitter, bitter to a point where bitter isn't tart enough! We've progressed into a full on sour assault. Take a look at how sour is creeping into the frequent connoisseur's guide to new, impressive and distinctly difference brews. 

The Bruery, Orange County, CA

Batch #1 Photo curtesy of Photoanger

Brettanomyces, the yeasts infamously found in Belgian Lambic, Farmhouse, and sour ales that produce aromas of horse blanket, smoke, and sweat…in a porter or a stout? You’re darn right.
The Bruery Blog writers continues to school us with a nice, snappy lesson the history of porters and stouts, adding that it is likely for "Brett" (the yeast) to have been a regular part of 18th 19th century dark ales. 

Hess Brewing, San Diego CA Newsletter

The beer we had intended to release in bottles for our anniversary ale WAS going to be a fresh hopped San Diego Pale Ale. Unfortunately, this ale did not quite reach the high standard (the Hess-ness, if you will) that we require for our beers—especially when it is going to be our anniversary release! Great Beer, No Exceptions, No Excuses isn't just a cool motto—we mean it! SO, you ask, what did we do with this beer?
Barrel Time, of course! We racked it into a freshly emptied wine barrel, inoculated it with some Roselare and... we'll wait for a year to see what happens (best case scenario is the world's first Sour Wet-Hopped Imperial IPA).

Funk Metal Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, Brett Soured

Funk Metal baby. Above is a potential new concoction from the most prolific brewery in Texas. Jester King Funk Metal is a barrel aged imperial stout, soured with that funky brettanomyces and even uses some wild Texas yeast (in the spirit of Belgian brewing, baby!).
Down below heavy clouds, swollen and green with electric rain, the two-grinned snake waves at us in the arrythmic symphony. We dance up the leg of a star dusted mountain; from its summit our souls are projected into the darkness of the universe as scattered laser light beams. We seek the taste of eternity.  You dig? 
Style: Imperial Stout (Barrel Aged, Sour)
Hops: Millenium, East Kent Goldings
Malts: Pale malt, Black, Carafa, Dark Crystal
Availability: 750 ml bottles
Arrival: TBA
8.2% ABV, 29 IBUs 

Reviews and Rants

In Nov 2011, Eric Asimov wrote in the about being pushed into the sour way of life

No beer impressed us more than our No. 1 bottle, the 2010 Kriek Ale from Cascade in Portland, Ore. This lambic-style vintage beer is flavored with cherries, but was not sweetly fruity or cloying. Rather, it was beautifully tart and richly complex, with just a hint of fruit flavor for balance. We liked this beer so much, we gave a rare top score of four stars.

Not too far behind was our No. 2 bottle, the Classic Gueuze from Cantillon of Belgium, a brilliant exemplar of the style. The gueuze is a blend of three different lambics that have been aged for one, two or three years in old casks. It offers a rare complexity and a funk that, to me at least, is simply beautiful.

If you scroll to the end of the tasting, there is a beautiful list of their sampling panel, with abv, prices, locations and short descriptions. 

Charleston City Paper does review on sour beers with the gear toward wine lovers. Could sour be the bridge between the long time rivals?

Doing a little dance in her chair- Nitch likes this change!
IPAs are a hard find while traveling, so I've recently become a sour convert out of nessesity with it being much easier to pick up a sour belgian fruit lambic because of it's world notoriety. Usually smacked behind a hefty shipping tax, but reachable none the less. 

Tonight we will search the area for sour beer and tomorrow we will do a Tasting!

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