scott biely | what i like about brew | may 2019
We have officially arrived on the doorstep of summer. May is here and temperatures are rising, nature is greening up, and every day opens up new opportunities for fun filled activities. While every season in Wisconsin is its own little treat, it's summertime that is the pinnacle of the seasons. I mean Will Smith never rapped about wintertime. Drinkability and refreshment become important qualifiers as the heat waves begin to roll in. While they can come in many different styles, sour beers are becoming a very popular option during the hottest of beer drinking months.
For a lot of people, the term “sour beer” brings with it an uncertainty as to what they are going to get. I think many people automatically think a sour beer is going to be like drinking a liquid WarHead. In most instances this is not the case, especially when dealing with fruited sours. Many fruited sours offer a pleasant tartness balanced with a nice fruit sweetness to create a beer that offers unique refreshment. For this reason, I find sour beers to be a perfect choice for the summer months. Here are a few fruited sours that pair perfectly with the upcoming sun-soaked days.
Karben4 Brewing (Madison, Wis.)
3.3 percent ABV
If you are trying to find this beer on the shelf of your local liquor store just look for George Washington with a bald eagle on one arm, a machine gun being held by the other and Old Glory flying in the background. America AF definitely has the packaging to support the name and also has the liquid to support the summer.
America AF pours a cloudy off-pink color and has a tart aroma with the slightest of watermelon smell. This beer drinks very light and delivers a unique and refreshing flavor. I would describe it as exactly what the beer's style states: a watermelon Berliner-Kolsch. The watermelon flavor is mixed with the tartness of a Berliner Weiss and the crisp cleanness of a Kolsch and the result is tasty. This beer clocks in at just over three percent abv and drinks very light, making America AF a summer beer you can surely enjoy more than just one or two of.
Freedom of Speach
Revolution Brewing (Chicago, Ill.)
Session Sour with Peaches
4.5 percent ABV
Traditionally there are a couple of different ways to sour a beer. To oversimplify, a brewer can either add bacteria to an already fermented beer or allow for natural microbes such as yeast and bacteria to run their course during fermentation and make the beer “funky.” Revolution Brewing uses plain Greek yogurt (and the bacteria that comes with it) in their brew kettle to turn Freedom of Speach into the tart and refreshing treat it is.
Freedom of Speach pours a golden yellow color and brings with it a nice frothy head. The aroma of the beer is tart and tangy with hints of peach. The taste is also tart and tangy but is mellowed out by the peaches. Although it doesn't have much sweetness to speak of, there is a strong perceived sweetness because of how nicely the peaches round off the tartness of this beer. I would definitely say this fits the description of a session sour and is also what I am looking for in a summer beer.
Terrapin Beer Co. (Athens, Ga.)
4.3 percent ABV
I was a little hesitant to put another watermelon-flavored sour in this article but Terrapin's Watermelon Gose is very different than the beer described earlier. This beer aims to create the flavor profile of a salted watermelon. While I never eat my watermelon with salt, this beer definitely encompasses all the flavors one would expect from the aforementioned treat.
The Watermelon Gose pours a golden blonde with a slight cloudiness to it. The smell is of watermelon and a slight tartness. There are quite a few things I taste with this beer. First the watermelon flavor, it's a natural watermelon flavor compared to watermelon flavor you get with candy. Next, I taste a slight cucumber flavor that also could be described as the watermelon's rind. Finally, a saltiness comes through in this Gose that rounds it out nicely. Layer those flavors on top of a slight tartness and the result is a beer made for summer.