Craft Gone Wild ”The Next Revolution”
Sours; austere, funky, bottle bubbled, multiple vintage blended wild ales. The Belgians have been blending barrels and vintages for centuries, but the U.S. is just starting to dabble with these acidic, funk-a-licious brews that can take over 3 years to develop in casks. Sours are a huge investment/risk for brewers. You have to purchase the expensive used or new oak barrels, store them for years, pray that the wrong type of bacteria doesn’t infect the batch and after all this your lucky if anyone even buys them, but the rewards can be euphoric.
Most of us craft drinkers arrive late to the wild ale category. I remember my first Rodenbach experience; I thought my friend was trying to poison me with the beer equivalent of a corked wine. Now I can’t find beers sour enough. Cantillon, Hanssens and cascade make enamel ripping wild ales that always blow my mind. That vinegar, berry reduction balanced with funky and earthy esters always makes me smile. One day we could see sours reaching the top of ratebeer and beeradvocate best beer lists. Craft beer right now seems to be fixed on Imperial Stouts, Double IPA’s and Barley Wines, but I think sour ales might be the next big thing. The complexity and range of flavors are too great to ignore and as ours palate sharpen the thirst for funk will only grow.