Sour beer is a beer produced with an intentional acidic or tart flavour, which was traditionally made in Europe for hundreds of years and is now growing in popularity in the modern craft ale industry.
Sour beer originated in Belgium, where there is a long tradition of making sharp, zesty ales such as Lambic. After the second world war, with the introduction of sweet flavoured drinks such as Coca Cola, tastes changed and the popularity of sour beers declined dramatically – by the 1990s it was thought of as a vinegary drink that had fallen out of fashion.
But with the rise of craft beer production and the exploration of new flavours, sour beer has made a comeback. There are several methods of making a sour, including fermentation using wild yeasts, aging and the addition of tart fruits and acids. Some take several years to make whilst others can be produced in a more typical timeframe of a few days.
One of our favourite sour beer producers in Collective Arts based in Canada, who make two wonderful versions. Mash Up The Jam is a dry hop sour, a juicy and zesty number full of hoppy flavour. Meanwhile Pomegranate and Grapefruit Sour is a refreshingly tart strong beer, with a little hint of sweetness to balance the taste.
If you haven’t tasted a sour beer yet, now’s the time to try it!