I love beer. I love it long time. But sour beer? I know, I know, it’s the latest craze. It’s the next IPA. It’s the future of beer.
Buuuuttt……uuummmmmm……I’ve never tried it.
I know, right? I say I love beer, but I’ve never had sour beer? It’s not that I haven’t wanted to try it, it’s just that I haven’t tried it. I’m definitely open to trying new brews, and thanks to Brewster’s at the Four Points by Sheraton LAX, I got to taste a baker’s dozen of rare lambic, sour, and wild beers that would make even the greatest of beer connoisseurs jealous. Every month, Brewster’s Bar & Grill has a Beer Appreciation event, and I was lucky enough to be invited to their September installment.
Now, some of you are already in the know and are very familiar with what lambic, sour, and wild beers are. For those of you who have not yet braved the unknown, I highly encourage you to do so. The folks at Brewster’s at the Four Points are very knowledgeable and informative, and can guide you in the right direction if you would like to try some sour beers. Additionally, they have an outstanding selection of beers on draft and in bottles.
All of these beers have one major thing in common: they are fermented either spontaneously or artificially by strains of wild yeast. It is these non-traditional forms of brewing yeast that give these beers their complex, often sour taste. The aging process is also a bit longer in general, ranging anywhere from 18 months to 10 years!
Enough of the tutorial already.
It would be easy to go beer by beer and share my notes with you, but I won’t do that because many of the beers I tasted can’t be found. Oh boy, I can tell you that my palate was stimulated with an eclectic range of tastes. From sweet to sour (not all lambics and wild ales are sour!); from hints of cherry to apple and then to raspberry fruit goodness; from crisp and clean to oak barrel aged wine tannin-y, there is something for everyone. It’s just a matter of tasting different incarnations of these beers to find what you like.
The one beer that you may be able to find from this tasting is the Mort Subite Blanche (or sometimes it’s called Mort Subite White). I have seen it on tap here in Los Angeles. It’s aromatic and crisp, with an ever-so-slight sour apple taste. It’s a great intro into the world of lambic, sour, and wild beers. There are also a few breweries that are worth noting as they regularly produce beers of this type that are accessible if you do a little poking around: Mikkeller out of Denmark, who makes a buh-gillion different beers; Jolly Pumpkin out of Michigan; and LA’s own The Bruery, who made the sourest beer of the night. Start with those and you’ll get a pretty good feel for what these beers are like.
Overall, the tasting experience was great. The beer was absolutely fantastic, and I was blown away by the range of tastes that I experienced. This beer lover can definitely see why sour beers are the latest craze. The Four Points by Sheraton LAX is a nice venue, and the knowledge of the brewmaster at Brewster’s and everyone else involved was quite impressive. I highly recommend that you make it out to one of their monthly events. You won’t regret it!
By: Brian Waters Twitter: @dogboy1000