Sour beer, Wild Ales, Lambic and so on and so forth. To be completely up front and honest this style of beer is still one that I am exploring and learning about. So instead of breaking it down into further sub categories for each like Flanders, Gueuze etc. etc I’m going to to lump them into one blog post and throw up my favorites from the year. It will be more then three this time do to how many styles are involved.
SLOambic – Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Lambic, Fruit ABV: 6%
I first had the opportunity to try this amazing beer at the From the Barrel event put on by Firestone Walker at Santa Margarita ranch. SLOambic is made by using 2050 lbs. of marionberries and boysenberries added to Sour Opal, a beer matured up to 32 months in oak barrels and then fermented using FW proprietary blend of microflora for an additional four months. The beer is bright and alive with berry compote, and homemade jam that provides a stage for a dance of funky yeast and oak flavors before closing the curtain with an amazing acidic finish.
R & D Wild Peach – New Glarus Brewing Co.
American Wild Ale ABV: 7.25%
I had this first at a small bottle share, the few ounces I drank was not close to enough. I went after a bottle in a trade and actually have one more on the way as I type. New Glarus made this Sour brown ale with Michigan peaches. Spontaneous fermentation aged on oak. Blended 1, 2 and 3 year old beer. The nose on this beer is world class, like opening 100 cans of peaches at once! The flavor profile is bursting with layers of fresh pressed peach juice seeping through used bourbon barrels and consumed out of a old leather cup. Has a great tart slightly sour crisp finish, that just pulls all the flavors together for a perfect easy drinking wild ale.
Drie Fonteinen Framboos – Brouwerij Drie Fonteinen
Lambic, Fruit ABV: 5%
This was a bottle gifted to me from the wonderful people at La Bodega bottle shop in Riverside Ca. Framboos is a one year old lambic brewed at 3 Fonteinen, with an addition of 30% whole fresh raspberries from the fabled Payottenland. No artificial colors or flavor enhancers are added. When poured into the glass the aroma is slightly funky with raspberry bush greenage that comes forward. As it warms up the actually berry just smacks you in the nose with a bright citric, and lactic acid mix. The flavor is truly amazing and complex, starts off with fresh ripe juicy raspberries that have been steeped in lemonade juiced from Meyer and Lisbon lemons. Hits a vinous white grape note before plunging into a full barnyard funk. Overall an excellent sour, juicy, tart funky beer.
Fruit Salad Oude Bruin – The Bruery
Flanders Oud Bruin ABV: 8.2%
Part of the glorious day of drinking at The Bruery anniversary party. Fruit Salad Oude Bruin is a single barrel blend of Oude Tart that was brewed in July 2013 and an Oud Bruin Pilot Batch. The single wine barrel also contains 27 lbs. of blackberries, 39 lbs. of raspberries and 21 lbs.of Blueberry (in a single wine barrel!). The fruit was fermented to dryness by the mixed culture in the barrel. The name of this beer is perfect, fruit salad! Had such a unique flavor of fresh berry pie filling mixed with cherry cola and sprinkled with some vinegar tartness. Was one of my favorite beers of the day that I stood in line for multiple times.
Cantillon Fou’ Foune – Brasserie Cantillon
Lambic, Fruit ABV: 5%
From a 2015 vintage bottle, made by using 2600 lbs. of apricots who land each year at Cantillon The fruits are stoned by hand before being immersed in a Lambic 2 years of age. The taste and aroma are extracted quickly and after 2 months of maceration, Fou’Foune is bottled. I love the way this beer reminds you that you are drinking a sour beer but only for a second before the apricots come crashing like a wave on your tongue. Its juicy, ripe and pulpy without being over bearing. It blends so amazingly with the base beer in a perfect harmony. Delivers a mid palate of an oak aged chardonnay, lemon peel, earth and a slight cheese flavor that joins in as well. I wish I could drink this regularly and not share!
That is my list for my favorite sour/wilds of the year. This next year I plan to explore this style more and hope to find some beers that are on this caliber. If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them. Ill be posting part 3 very soon.