Sour beers, made for centuries in Belgium and only recently gaining popularity stateside, are just what they sound like: brews that have been given a funky flavor during fermentation by the introduction of bacteria and wild yeasts. The beers aren't always sour, however, and are often called American Wild Ales in recognition of the fact that the flavor range of these beers are expansive — from dry and hay-like to tart and fruity.
By any name wild beers are now one of the most creative corners of the world's beer scene and among the most complex beers to drink in the world — able to replace a great bottle of wine at the center of any meal. Here is a list to get you started.
Brouwerij Verhaeghe Duchesse de Bourgogne
Like many of Belgium's best sours, the Duchesse is a blend of vintages — in this case eight- and 18-month-old sours. The resulting beer starts fruity but finishes dry.
Credit: Photograph by Michael Pirrocco