Sour beers have become pretty common among BC brewers, but as with any style, there are of course the outliers that take the style to extreme heights. These beers are not for the faint of heart, and should be reserved specifically for those that are dedicated sour beer fans, or gluttons for the puckering sensation.
Storm Brewing- Imperial Flanders Red Ale
Let’s start with the one that is likely to hurt the most. Storm’s Flanders Red Ale is crushingly tart; the last time I was at the brewery one guest asked to try the Flanders, upon first sip their face changed immediately from one of curiosity to one of horror.
I’m not knocking this beer at all, in fact I’m a big advocate of this very, very sour beer. There is something oddly satisfying about it to me. But be warned, if you aren’t familiar with sour beer it’s practically like being punched in the face.
Strange Fellows- Reynard Oud Bruin
A little less of an assault on the senses than Storm, Reynard is an excellent example of a Oud Bruin that retains a tartness but blends in elements of sweetness to attempt a balance.
Reynard is aged for a year in French oak barrels and offers strong cherry notes with hints of vanilla. It won a Gold Medal at the BC Craft Beer Awards 2016 in the European Sour Ale category.
Driftwood- Belle Royal Kriek
Another beer aged for a year in French oak barrels, so naturally the wood and cherry notes come through on this one as well. This is an intense and bold beer that has an extremely pungent aroma, which is only slightly less pungent on the palate. Again, a sour beer drinker will likely be very pleased with this beer, and a newbie might want to go wash their mouth out with soap.
Townsite Brewing- Thaddeus
Sometimes great things come out of mistakes; Thaddeus is one of those things. This Oud Bruin is extremely limited, as it’s essentially a huge mistake turned into a huge sour. As Townsite explains:
A collaboration last fall with our friends at Gladstone Brewing called for a lactobacillus starter, a sour black Saison was to be made. The morning after pitching lacto into 20ish Litres of wort Scott and Cedric came in to find a vigorous fermentation happening, a sign that wild yeast had gotten in and taken over. Instead of dumping and restarting, Scott put that 20L in the barrel room to see what would happen. A couple of months later when they revisited that vessel, a strong flavour of stone fruits (think cherries, plums) was detected and Scott and Cedric decided to investigate these flavours. A turbid mash was concocted with a dash of midnight wheat at the end of sparge, as Cedric is so wont to do these days, and into this was pitched our wild-yeast-lacto-starter. A new age version of the Oud Bruin style becomes a classic Townsite brew.
Central City- Pia Cassis Sour
Probably the most approachable sour on this list, the Pia is the fourth sour beer released by Central City and has a strong earthiness and funk to it. However, that’s balanced out with notes of dark fruit and plum that do compliment the beer well. Very interested to see how this beer ages.