Until finding out about sour beers earlier this year, I would have guessed it was a drink that had gone off. Now I know better, and have discovered how delicious they can be! Sour beers make up a tiny percentage of craft beer sales, but many breweries around the world make them.
Sour beers use wild yeasts and bacteria to create their character, most commonly using the un-appetisingly named Lactobacillus, Brettanomyces, and Pediococcus. Despite this being an unpredictable way to produce beer, most still follow guidelines and fall into a traditional style, such as Berliner Weisse, Flanders Red Ale, Lambic, and American Wild Ale.
The first one I tried was from the ADHA 484 Sour (5.5%) from Chorlton Brewing Co in Manchester. It’s like a bunch of lemons bathing in a pale ale jacuzzi! It had a pleasing citrus aroma, and on the first sip, the acidity and lemony taste were very strong, almost like someone had squeezed a few lemons straight into the can.
London brewery Redchurch’s Urban Farm House (5.4%) was my second sour beer. Described as a Dry Hop Sour, it certainly had a hoppy aroma, but on the tongue, the sour character really kicked in. This cloudy beer was fully of fruity citrus flavours, and would go down a treat on a hot summer day!
Sour beers might not be the easiest to come across in supermarkets (I bought those two in a local wine shop), but if you see one, give it a try!