Beer styles continue to evolve. New subcategories are added every year. The good news is you don’t have to keep track of it all – leave that to the experts! All you need is to know enough about each of the major styles to help appreciate and share your knowledge when it comes to choosing your beer for the day. As a nod to summer, today we will discuss…
History: Sour beer is the oldest type of beer in history. Before the golden age of refrigeration and advances in the science of fermentation and pasteurization in the mid-nineteenth century, nearly all beer used to be at least somewhat sour. Belgian sour beers first came to the United States around the 1970s, laying the groundwork for current surge of tarter domestic beers we have all come to know and love.
Profile: Some of the words used to describe sour beer are sour, acidic, tart, dry, yoghurty, and fruity. Bacteria is what gives sour beers their distinctive taste, some of the same bacteria that give yogurt its tang. A wild yeast is what adds that funky layer of earthiness. They are commonly fermented with fruits such as cherries, raspberries, peaches, figs, blackberries, and strawberries. Sour beers are usually aged in barrels for anywhere from 6-36 months before they are ready to be consumed.
Food Pairings: Try pairing a sour with a tangy cheese like bleu, aged brie, sharp cheddar or goat cheese and some fresh fruit. Grilled barbeque pork also stands up well to a tangy sour. And don’t forget to try it out with mussels and other shellfish to bring a little acidity to the dish.
Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: somewhere between 3-5%
Types of Sours: In the category of sours, you will find the American wild ale, Berliner Weisse, Flanders red ale, Gose, Lambic, and Oud bruin. Learn more about these styles here.
Let us know about your favorite sour beer. We are always open to trying new beers!