In our first installment of this series, we talked about pastry stouts. You could give even the biggest beer hater a pastry stout from a top brewery, and they would think it is a cold brew with a mocha caramel shot, not beer.
Well, we have come back with another style of beer which beer haters would also have a hard time deciphering. Sour beers have absolutely zero hoppiness. Instead, they offer a tartness which can range from mild Sour Patch Kid to Warhead level tartness.
Sours, one of the hottest trends in the beer industry right now, was once an outcast in the U.S. and was hardly even considered a beer. Sours were originally brewed in Belgium, and for a long time they never left Europe. When they first came to the U.S., many beer drinkers turned their noses to them.
Traditionally, when we think about sours, we think delicious fruit blends (Think raspberry, blueberry, mango, etc). An example of some of these would be Trillium and their “Daily Serving” series. In these, the fruits are the stars of the show. Your taste buds will think of fruit juice, but after a few of them your brain will realize, “Oh, yeah this is a beer.” These are perfect for your first entry into sours. They are not overly sour, and extremely fruit forward with a medium mouthfeel.
The traditional fruit sour was not enough for the most creative brewers. It didn’t take too long for silly combinations to start appearing, with brewers adding everything from maple syrup to marshmallows. This took sours from your basic fruity beer to being able to replicate your favorite dessert. A prime example of this is Vitamin Sea Brewing’s “Sour Pipe Project.” Imagine liquid forms of blueberry pancakes and blackberry crumble. You can close your eyes and smell the aroma of fresh pancakes with maple syrup being poured over them
Burley Oak is another brewing company pushing the limits in this category with their J.R.E.A.M. series. Their peach cobbler sour fills the nostrils with spicy cinnamon and sweet peach. The flavor profiles of these dessert sours offer the perfect harmony of sweetness and tartness.
If you thought that the dessert sours sounded ridiculous (And they are– in the best way possible), then you may want to stop reading, because this next category of sours is pushing the limits of what even we consider beers (And we love it)! Smoothie sours seem to be the next pandemic that is sweeping the craft beer scene. These sours are thicc. We are talking mall food court Jamba Juice thicc, Ruben Studdard thicc (look him up), and brewery hopping for three days straight thicc. The best way to describe them is that you got a bunch of frozen fruit, threw it in your Nutribullet, and and then drank it.
Two breweries who are really setting the gold standard for this new style are Imprint Beer Co. and Mortalis Brewing. Imprint’s Schmoojee series are all must-try. They are extremely fruit forward and drink like a smoothie. Mortalis has a number of different series, and all of them are killer. So, if you can get your hands on either of these breweries consider yourself lucky!