It’s seems like just yesterday everyone and their mother was going crazy for big, bitter IPAs. Well, it seems there’s a new style of brew stealing the spotlight in Ontario now.
Have you ever tried a Sour Beer? No,it’s not a beer that’s gone bad. It’s beer made by intentionally allowing wild yeast strains or bacteria into the brew. At one time, all beers were sour to some degree. As pure yeast cultures were not available, the starter used from one batch to another usually contained some wild yeast and bacteria. Today, because there’s a greater need for consistency, making sour beer is a risky and specialized form of brewing.
Of course, even in the sour beer category there are many varieties to try. Some of the more popular sour beer styles include berliner weisse, lambic and gose brews. Expect your beer to have fruity flavors, but to what degree can vary wildly. Dominant flavour profiles can be anything from vinegar to earthiness to tang.
We urge you try it! Every brew is a little different and there’s dozens to be discovered at breweries across Ontario. Here are a few to get you started:
Uber Berliner Weisse
Nicklebrook Brewing Company
Nickel Brook Berliner Weisse is refreshing, crisp, light and . It’s made in a style of wheat beer found traditionally in Berlin, Germany. The sour is a result of a natural by-product of lactobacillus which occurs during a sour mash process.
Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co.
Technically, this beer isn’t available anymore, but we loved it to much we had to tell you about it. An unfiltered wheat beer brewed with sea salt and coriander, Opa�s Gose is a revival of an ancient beer style that originated in and around the Saxon town of Leipzig. The team at Beau’s even packaged it with a tiny bag of sea salt, meant to be sprinkled on top of your pint.
Brothers Brewing Company
This is a traditional Berliner Wiesse — and a good starting point for those looking to dip their feet into the sour beer world. Refreshing, tart, sour and acidic, this beer has a lemony fruit sharpness with almost no hop bitterness.
The Sour Kraut
Neustadt Springs Brewery
A lighter lager soured with raspberries. Pours a golden colour with a nice white head, light raspberry flavour against a malt background. This is fruity without being desserty — we like it.
Niagara Oast House Brewers
Available in small amounts at the brewery, this is a refreshing take on the classic sour. Make sure to serve it well chilled. In late summer, also try the Ontario Peach Sour too!
Swamp Fly Sour Ale w/ Haskaps
This beer was produced using a technique called ?kettle souring? which is simply lowering the pH of the wort and adding a lactobacillus culture to give this a pleasant tartness. Sound like science? Well, it is. Delicious science. Haskap berries from Meaford are then added to sweeten the whole thing.
To explore more sours — and learn about other brewing technique, check out the Ontario Craft Brewers!