While the summer months are a great time of year for pale ales, lagers, IPAs, pilsners, saisons, and wheat beers, the winter months are all about stouts, porters, and other dark beers. Is there any style that fits into every season? We believe sour beers and wild ales hold that honor.
One of the most complex beer styles, sour beers are known for their tart, slightly sour, sometimes acidic flavor profile. While you can find American craft beers listed as sour or fruited sour, traditional styles include the lambic, gueuze, wild ale, Berliner weiss, Flanders red ale, and gose.
Why are sour beers a great choice for all seasons? Often, the tart, sweet flavor of many sour beers pairs well with different fruits like cherry, raspberry, peach, and other historically tart, tangy flavors. This gives them a semi-sweet, sour, almost acidic taste that’s great for warm-weather drinking. You can enjoy it well into the fall and even into the winter months in some cases.
Where do they get their funky flavor from? For those unaware, this is where things start to get a little wacky. Sour beers get their memorable sour profile from the addition of wild bacteria (yes, you read that right) and yeast during the brewing process. If you take a closer look at your favorite sour beer, you’ll find words like lactobacillus and brettanomyces.
Sour beers, made for centuries in Belgium and only recently gaining popularity stateside, aren’t always sour, and are often called American wild ales in recognition of the fact that the flavor range of these beers is expansive—from dry and hay-like to tart and fruity.
Below, you’ll find a mix of sour beers including goses, Berliner weisses, Flanders red ales, and wild ales.
The World’s Best Sour Beers and Wild Ales
1. Victory Sour Monkey
This sour tripel is brewed with Pilsner malts and Tettnang hops. It gets its sour, fruity flavor from the addition of Belgian yeast. It has a tangy, tart, slightly sweet flavor. With notes of citrus zest, green apple, caramel malts, Belgian yeast, and a gentle, spicy backbone, this is a multi-dimensional beer that’s best for an unseasonably chilly night.
[$12.99 for a six-pack; victorybeer.com]Get it
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