For those of you who have tried a sour beer, you know the tingling, mouthwatering, face-puckering sensation that they often give you on that first sip.
Sour beers taste exactly as they sound – sour! With fruity and complex flavors, sour beers are crisp and refreshing, the perfect beer to quench your thirst on a hot summer day!
So what’s so special about sour beers? Sours are actually quite difficult to brew! The process of brewing a sour beer is complex and can be risky and unpredictable. Since the creation of beer, before pure yeast cultures were available, all beers were at least slightly sour because wild yeast and naturally occurring bacteria getting into the brew was unavoidable. Today, wild yeast is intentionally added to the brew to create a sour beer, however, there is a significant level of uncertainty involved in using wild yeast which makes this process unpredictable. In the past, the difficult process involved in brewing these beers made them hard to find. However, in the past few years, sours have grown in popularity and can now be commonly found on the menu and in stores.
Sours come in a variety of styles and flavors. Some sours are extremely tart, while others might have just a slightly tangy taste. American Wild Ales, Lambic, Berliner Weisse, Gose, and Flanders Red Ales are among the different types of sour beers.
- Berliner Weisse beers from Germany are some of the better-known sours. These light beers are often high in carbonation and low in alcohol content. These beers are sometimes served with syrups, such as raspberry.
- Flanders Red Ales are descendants of the English Porter and actually go through an interesting brewing process. After the brew is fermented with yeast, it is aged in oak barrels and then later mixed with younger beer!
- American Wild Ales are, as the name suggests, brewed in the United States. Relying almost entirely on wild yeast and bacteria, flavor in these beers often varies from beer to beer.
- Lambic sours hail from the Brussels area in Belgium. This type of sour beer is often quite fruity with hints of sweetness.
- Gose beers were named after their place of origin in Goslar, Germany. These brews contain coriander and salt which help to give them their unique flavor.
As the craft beer world continues to grow at such a rapid pace, there is now an infinite number of varieties and flavors to try. With the sours trend on an incline, some brewers are even beginning to create varieties such as sour blondes and even sour IPAs! Sour beers may be an acquired taste, but for those who can handle a little sour, they can be a crispy, refreshing alternative to the everyday brew!
Our beer list is always changing at Noble Hops, so be sure to ask your server what sours are on the menu!