Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The seasonality (if any) of sour beers, and other sour beer observations

Let me start by saying, yes, I've had some fantastic sours that I absolutely loved as much as any other beer. Why am I starting off with such a disclaimer-like statement? Because sour beer is overrated, it's one of the trends like hopbomb/imperial IPA/imperial stout/imperial-BS/barrel aging. Every brewery is starting to get their feet wet with it, a lot of cool experimentation is going on, and it's a part of the beer world with a long history. Why then, do I find it overrated? Partially, because it's not as easy to do right and a lot of breweries are kicking out one-note, sour bombs. You can't taste much malt, yeast complexity is overwhelmed by funk and sourness, and generally you finish the beer and already your tastebuds are blown out. They're done. This is just a gripe. I know we need breweries to experiment as much as possible and constantly take beer to new levels, to new tasting avenues, but I don't have to like it when everyone is creating the same sour bomb, and souring up every style they think fit to sour, and doing it poorly.

Do these beers fit into Spring? Some of the heavier and darker ones will evoke a little vanilla and some dark fruit notes; soured up and with the right carbonation, they're refreshing for a Spring day, especially of the Chicago variety. The less carbonated ones don't do much for me in terms of a cool spring night, even though they're kind of my favorite sours tied with sour/funky/wild saisons and wits.

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