Will this be the summer of sours beer? Here are two to tickle the palate
Beerista: Sours can be a challenge to drink, but a good one is perfect for sunny weather
Crooked Stave uses big oak barrels to ferment its Sour Rosé ale
Will this be the summer of sours? For the past three or four years there has been talk of the rise of this mouth-puckering style and of its wider uptake by craft-beer drinkers. But sours can be a bit of a challenge, tough on the palate and generally an intense drinking experience.
I was a little put off the style for a while because it seemed to follow the macho side to drinking craft beer – the approach of how hoppy, how bitter or how sour can you handle it? But as the industry has matured there have been more interesting and nuanced approaches to the style, and to brewing in general.
Sour beers can range from the wince-inducing, enamel-stripping types, which basically replicate the experience of biting into a lemon, to more approachable ones in which sourness features alongside other flavours.
Some Irish breweries have been producing sour beers for a couple of years – White Hag has its Púca series, for example, and YellowBelly makes Castaway passion-fruit sour, among others – and now a few more are appearing as we head into summer.
Elements DH Sour is made by O Brother Brewing, in Co Wicklow, as part of its Off the Wall series. This is a dry-hopped sour with a grassy Citra-hop aroma and flavours of peach and tropical fruits. It’s light bodied and, at 4 per cent alcohol, is a great easy-drinking, sunny-weather beer. Its sourness is quite restrained, which would make it a perfect introduction to the style.
Crooked Stave’s Sour Rosé is far sourer – and delicious. Made in Colorado, in the United States, with raspberries and blueberries, this 4.5 per cent wild ale undergoes secondary fermentation in big oak barrels. It’s balanced and light bodied, with a champagne-like quality, and pours with a lovely pink haze.