A beer that smells like a horse blanket may not sound appealing, but this fragrance, common to beer with wild yeast, is the scent of a category of beers that is seeing surging popularity. The sour beer, a funky, slightly acidic, fruity category out of Belgium, is now hugely in fashion among geeks and the beer-curious. If you fall into the latter category, we have the beer to start: The Saison Rue from The Bruery is a subtle, well-balanced intro to the strange, but rewarding style.

The Bruery is a family operation out of Placentia, California that is known for its adventurous and off-beat beers, like this sour. It brews this beer with a traditional, non-sour Belgian yeast strain and add rye for extra body. Only after this fermentation has completed do the brewers pitch their sour yeast strain called Brettanomyces (or Brett). Then, the Brett is allowed to sit tight and work its magic for another month before bottling.

The result is crisp, peppery ale with undertones of plums, mild herbal flavors and an earthy, mouth-puckering funk. There are so many different flavors that you could pair it with almost anything, but we'd recommend that you first pair yourself up with someone else before cracking the $14, 750 mL bottle – its 8.5% alcohol can pack a punch. [thebruery.com]