Reservations are Going Fast as We Preview Our Annual Craft Beer Event Wednesday April 18 Focusing on Sour Beers.
Since I’ve been the beer buyer here at The Wine Country, I’ve yet to do an event fully fueled by sour beer. On April 18, that changes.
For those who are already acquainted with sours, I don’t need to tell you how delicious they can be. For those who hear the words “sour” and “beer” in succession and think, “Wow, that’s disgusting!” Give me a chance to change your mind.
Let’s start at the beginning.
Sour beer is created by the introduction of bacteria or wild yeast into the wort (the term for beer before it is fermented), something that is intentional in modern brewing, but was not when beer was first created. Because of this, beer before the modern era was likely at least a little sour due to the aforementioned bacteria and wild yeasts.
It rose to prominence in Belgium, with styles like lambics, Flanders, and geuzes using open fermentation, as well as in Germany with the Berliner weisse and gose.
From there, modern brewing eliminated the sour-ness, favoring fully sanitized systems, limiting infection and subsequent souring. Brewing became an exact science, showcasing the crisp, clean styles we know today.
In recent years, craft beer has boomed. There has been many trends: hop-bomb IPAs, boozy barrel-aged stouts, and hazy IPAs most recently. However, there was one trend no one expected, and that was sour beer.
The sour boom was a few years ago, and while it has since simmered down, breweries are still pumping out the bacteria-laden beers. Pediococcus, Lactobacillus, and Brettanomyces are the main three used to create tartness, as well as wild yeast.
So now that we’ve scratched the surface of what sour beer is, it’s time to talk about my upcoming event. Let me be clear: this is NOT your run-of-the-mill sour tasting. This is me saying, “What are the 12 best sours I can get my hands on and pour?”
As we’re still 3 weeks out, the list has not been finalized. However, some decisions have been made and I’ll give you a quick preview of what to expect.
Cascade Brewing Co. Sang du Chene
Blond and Triple Ales Aged in Oak Casks, Portland, Oregon
Sang Du Chene (2015) - meaning “blood of the oak”, this sour blond is aged in three different formats: foudres, puncheons, and hogsheads. It’s an incredible oak-y blend high in acidity that will knock your socks off. At $26.99 a bottle, it’s one of those beers that you understandably want to try before you commit to the price tag, so this is the perfect opportunity.
$22.99 per bottle
Crooked Stave Petite Sour Rose Ale, Denver, Colorado
The legendary Denver sour makers finally have some semi-consistent distribution out here, so I’m taking the opportunity to show off this amazing beer. Somehow the price is so low (I think the distributor messed up) but at $4.99, it’s the best value for amazing taste you’ll find in the entire store.
$4.99 per bottle
Beachwood Blendery Sour Ale Various Flavors, Long Beach, California
Admittedly, I haven’t decided what I’m pouring from the local legends, but there will be at least one offering from them. Beachwood began as a local BBQ joint that also made beer, but has turned into one of the best breweries in the nation. A few years back they expanded into a new building on the same block as their downtown Long Beach location and called it the Blendery, a place to focus on sour beer. It has quickly become one of the premier spots in the area, and I cannot wait to show it to you all.
$13.99 to $19.99 per bottle
I’d tell you more about what’s to come, but it’s more fun this way. Trust me, this is not an event to miss.
Call The Wine Country at (562) 597-8303 to make your reservation for our annual Sour Fest, Wednesday April 18.