(ROCKWALL, TX – Aug. 22, 2019) Many of you have probably heard of or seen sour beers listed at your local brewery tap lineup or for sale at your local bottle shop. If you are anything like me, the first time you saw this, you asked yourself, “What is that?!”
Well my friends, sour beers are actually beers that are fermented with different yeast and bacteria that produce lactic acid.
“Wait, did he just say bacteria?”
Yes, however, these are types of bacteria that are actually able to survive in the presence of fermented beer and are perfectly safe to consume. The bacteria that survive the fermentation process create different tastes and flavors depending on many variables.
Here’s a brief overview of the main bacterial players that make this beer special: Lactobacillus (Lacto) is the main heavy lifter and produces clean acetic acid (think tart); Pediococcus (Pedio) also produces a more sharp acetic acid (think tangy) but is a little slower than Lacto and also puts out some other off flavors; Brettanomyces (Brett) is actually yeast that does not produce sour acid at all. This yeast produces funky farmhouse and sometimes fruity flavors. It is what is used to clean up the off flavors Pedio may produce.
Now that we have covered the science of sours, let’s look at the beer style itself. There are six subcategories within sour beers. First, Gose (pronounced Goes-uh, ex. Dogfish Head Sea Quench Ale) is tart wheat ale with coriander and a small amount of sea salt added as a seasoning to bump up the citrus quality. This is a good place to start to dip your toe into the sour pool.
Next, Berlinerweisse (ex. Independence Redbud) is sour wheat ale that has a very simple wheat malt bill typically with no other added seasoning. Sometimes breweries will add fruit flavors to make them more interesting.
Next, Flanders Red/Oud Bruin (ex. Duchesse de Bourgogne (red), Petrus Oud Bruin (brown)) is best described as having both sweet and sour in the same beer. These are Belgian sours that have been made for many generations using complex Belgian techniques.
Next, Lambic (ex. Oude Gueze Boon) is a very special Belgian beer created by spontaneous fermentation techniques. Lambic and Gueze are regionally specific names that are forbidden from use outside Belgium. Most American brewers respect this tradition and instead call their versions Spontaneous Fermented beers.
Mixed Culture beers are the final catch-all category in sours (ex. Jester King, Jolly Pumpkin). Many times these beers will be barrel aged and take an extended time to produce. Come on by Beer Geeks today and exercise your sour power!
Beer Geeks is a craft beer bottleshop located in downtown Rockwall. We have over 275 craft beers from all over the world. Everything is organized by style and priced as singles, so you can build a custom pack out of anything, everything in the store. Where it’s okay to geek out about beer! BeerGeeksShop.com. This is a sponsored guest column appearing monthly in Blue Ribbon News and online at BlueRibbonNews.com.
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