'Sour beer' has been around for centuries. No not that nasty stuff when a cask beer has started to 'turn', but rather a style of beer produced deliberately to taste sour. The Belgians have always been the fore runner in this sort of beer with their lambics and guezes, two beers that I especially shy away from because I do not find their taste particularly appealing, but this week 'The Grove' has managed to get its hands on some key kegged Brodies sour beer. I felt obliged to give them a go.
I am unsure how Brodies made their beer, but the traditional Belgian method is to allow natural airborne yeasts into their barrels to allow bacteria into the brew, or alternatively use fruit to encourage a secondary fermentation in the cask. Often with cherry or raspberry to give the tart flavour they are seeking, which creates a kriek or framboisen beer respectively.
The Brodies sour beers on offer were a cherry sour, a white peach and a 'randalled' blueberry beer. As I said, all were key kegged, and all 3.7% so the assumption was that they were all made from the same initial brew. Despite my initial misgivings, the taste was certainly different to what I had expected. There was a sourness in the beer, as would have been expected, but it was not as sharp or overpowering as the Belgian styles, and blended with the fruit gave an interesting flavour. It would have been hard for me to drink a lot of any of the beer but a 1/3 of each was quite acceptable.
A bit of research has shown that the style is also becoming popular in America, and no doubt what they do first, we soon follow, so may be sour beer may become more common. Having said that, I can still take it or leave it. I enjoyed it for a change but I doubt it will replace my preference for 'proper' cask beers.