At first, the tart, sweet, juicy taste of a sour beer might throw you off, but once you put it down, we bet you'll go for another sip. This type of beer proves different from classic lagers, IPAs, and stouts in both flavor and body.
Sours tend to be a refreshing drink used as a palate cleanser and to pair with food. Plus, this beer tends to have a lower ABV, so you can crush more in one sitting.
Often experimenting with flavors and wild yeast, brewmasters make sours in a variety of ways from mixed-cultures to spontaneous fermentation to kettle sours, also called quick sours. Using these methods, experts are churning out some outstanding beers featuring local fruits, special yeast strains, and surprising flavors. Here are ten can't-miss sours to get you started.
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In Colorado this popular brewery has been doing fun things with beer since 1991 and their dry-hopped American Sour Ale proves especially nice. The beer gets aged in oak barrels, but the temperatures, humidity, and vibrations change to give each batch a unique characteristic. Expect to pucker your lips upon first sip, only to have that pleasing sourness dissipate into a crisp finish with bitter hints at the end. It's got a bit of tropical essence—something the golden hue helps perpetuate. Think of this beer as the special occasion brew and serve at the next fancy dinner party or bring it to a holiday meal.
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Gose is a type of sour wheat beer originally created in Goslar, Germany. However, this particular tasty drink gets made in Cincinnati by Rhinegeist's team of brewers who have a hankering for the saline-rich and refreshing gose style. The Peach Dodo is, as you may have guessed, made with a ton of ripe peaches. That stone fruit essence comes in nicely, creating a drink perfect for a day at the park tossing a frisbee around or at a barbecue paired with juicy pork ribs.
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Don't doubt the power of cucumber to make any beverage, meal, or spa treatment even more refreshing. Such is the case with this thirst-quenching beer created at 10 Barrel in Oregon. While one might think a sour cucumber beer would taste like a liquid pickle, this drink maintains a crispness and tastes more like the fresh vegetable than the fermented one (though this year the brewery released a pickle sour, too). Created in 2013, it's become so popular you can find it year round. Try subbing it for that brunch cocktail next Sunday.
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Bold and deep, this dark sour ale from Surly Brewing in Minneapolis will have you summoning your courage to finish the 7 percent ABV beer, but in the best possible way. Made with the Brettanomyces yeast strain, this brew has nuances of tobacco, barnyard funk, cherries, and a bit of maltiness. There's also a hint of oak thanks to aging in used red wine barrels. You will want to drink this sour with your dearest friends while divulging past sins.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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This once small brewery has really blown up in the last few years which has allowed them to get really funky. For example, Lagunitas' dark and fruity sour ale that's brewed with dark red wine grapes and experimental hops. The result is a deep purple ale that isn't as sour as you might expect, but it's definitely a beer that will keep you talking. Bring it to that friend who's a beer snob or save the whole bottle and drink by yourself.
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If you're lucky enough to be around Colorado from May through September (or anywhere else this beer gets distributed) make sure to Great Divide's sweet, tart, and fizzy blend of two essential summer ingredients: rhubarb and strawberry. Done as a quick sour, this beer doesn't have the same lip-puckering depth a lot of other brews in this category possess, but it proves just as refreshing and contains enough tartness to satisfy any fan of this beer style. Try it during your next picnic, preferably with fried chicken.
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Whether you're drinking in L.A. on a summer day or throwing back a can of this while fishing off the Colorado River, this East Coast-style gose from the West Coast's Modern Times hits all the right notes to keep you happy. Settling soundly on a pilsner base, the light brew offers a bit of guava and passion fruit funk to it. Think of it as the sour beer version of a tiki drink.
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In South Carolina, you can find one of the best German-style goses on the market via Westbrook Brewing. The heady brew puckers your lips with a gray salt underbite, made even more pleasant by subtle traces of green coriander. At four percent ABV, this is the kind of sour beer you throw back during daylight hours on a Saturday as you get housework done, or bring a six-pack of the stylish cans to that next barbecue at your friend's house.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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When Russian River's Compunction base first comes to fruition it's not sour. But after aging in wine barrels for eight to 12 months with added Brettanomyces yeast, the brew becomes deeper, more golden, and develops a lovely tartness sought after by many expert beer drinkers. That's not the only reason this seasonal brew proves so popular in California (where it's made). After the barrel-aging process, the liquid sits longer, though this time with fresh pluots. Each gallon of beer marries with one pound of the stone fruit. Because this brew proves stronger than most sours at about 7.4 percent and because it's hard to come by, you will want to save it for a special occasion.
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Using mixed fermentation and a blend of aged and young ales, Fruitage by Dutch brewery Rodenbach takes the idea of a sour and turns it into a happy hour favorite. To start with, the beer consists of seven percent red fruit juices which adds to the bright tartness. Though the brewery started in 1821, this brew is newer and a serving usually comes served over ice with a lemon or lime wedge, almost like an Aperol spritz. It's a refreshing summertime brew.