Gateway Sour Beers: Become A Sour Beer Fan

Over the past few months, I’ve covered the topic of sour beers a few times. Everything from how they are made to learning how to like them. For those that aren’t fans of sour beers, I wanted to provide a list of gateway sour beers that can help ease you into this style.

A gateway sour beer is basically a starting point for those that want to try sour beers but have concerns about liking them. They provide the least aggressive flavors and will hopefully all you to ease yourself into the style.


Berliner Weisse

Boulevard Berliner WeisseAs the name suggests, this brew is originally from Berlin. This traditional style is a wheat beer that is fermented with lactobacillus culture. That culture is what will provide this beer with its unique flavor as it turns sugar into lactic acid.

Typically, a Berliner Weisse will have a pale golden color with a head that fades quickly. It is effervescent and refreshing. Most will describe the berliner as a tart beer that has nearly no hop flavor or bitterness.

It has a lower ABV of around 4%. Traditionally, it was served with a raspberry or woodruff syrup that added sweetness.

I’ve found that this style is really approachable and pairs  well with a wide range of foods.

Most modern brewers enjoy adding fruit to this style as the sweetness counteracts the tart characteristics.

Examples Of Berliner Weisse

Festina PecheDogfish Head Craft Brewery

Berliner Weisse | Boulevard Brewing

Athena | Creature Comforts Brewing


Gose

Anderson Valley G&T GoseMuch like the Berliner Weisse, Gose is a tart forward beer; however, there are a few differences that make it standout.

Gose have a unique flavor thanks to salt and coriander used in the brewing process. And just as expected, you get a salty and slightly spicy flavor. In addition, it will have a heavier malt flavor than the berliner but is still very light.

This unfiltered wheat beer will have a cloudy, yellow color. The ABV will be around 5%. Just like the Berliner, syrups can be added to this to add sweetness but it is not as common.

And as expected, modern brewers have found success incorporating fruit flavors into this style.

Examples Of Gose

Briney Melon Gose | Anderson Valley Brewing

Green Zebra | Founders Brewing

Kirsch Gose | Victory Brewing


Midwest Fruit Tart Ales

Urband Artifact SqueezeboxSo this “style” isn’t official but rather a name that is being used to describe a type of beer that is gaining popularity.

I got into all the details in this article but I’ll give you the quick rundown here as well.

These sour beers are much like the Berliner and Gose as it is more tart than sour; caused by lactic acid. But that’s probably where the similarities stop.

These ales are made using tons of real fruit which give them huge aroma and flavor. In addition, their appearance could easily be confused for fruit juice.

A heavier malt profile carries these big flavors. You’ll also find a moderately higher ABV in these beers; most being above 7%.

In my area, Urban Artifact is making a lot of this type of beer. The well-known brewery, New Glarus, also makes beers that fall into this classification.

I don’t think the majority of breweries will adopt this style as it takes quite a bit of effort to use the amount of fruit needed. But there are some that have quickly become huge fans of this style of craft beer.

Do you know of any local breweries making these fruit forward sour beers?

Examples Of Midwest Fruit Tart Ales

Strawberry Rhubarb | New Glarus Brewing

Serendipity | New Glarus Brewing

Squeeze | Urban Artifact


Are You A Fan Of These Gateway Sour Beers?

For some, sour beer just isn’t their thing. However, if presented with the right one, anyone can become a sour fan; in my opinion. These sour beers are called kettle or quick sours. They feature some sour elements but are more approachable than traditional sour ales.

Most consider these styles to be more tart than sour; which many beer drinkers find appealing. In addition, many will feature fruit which helps cut down on the sour bite and make them more approachable.

For me, I’ve had lots of different sours and I have found that the more I try, the more I like. That encourages me to continue to push myself into more and more sour styles.

If you enjoy these, then I recommend trying Lambic, Kriek, or Wild Ales. Most of these will have a strong sour or even funky flavor that will take you to the next level of sour ales.

What Is Your Favorite Type Of Sour Beer?


 

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