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One of the oldest beer styles in history, sours nearly disappeared after the science of fermentation helped brewers “clean up” the souring bacterias and wild yeasts in their brewhouses. The tradition never died in Belgium, though, and has recently experienced a massive surge in popularity in North America. There’s lots to explore in this family: Gose and Berliner Weisse styles are lower-alcohol wheat beers made tart by adding lactobacillus, the same bacteria that sours yogurt. Wild ales, from Flanders Red to Lambic-style ales, are more complex, harnessing a mix of wild yeasts and souring bacterias to make a funky, tart, blended masterpiece. Fresh or puréed fruit is often blended in too.
You May Taste
These are often described as earthy, funky and yeasty, and have racy to mild acidity and a dry finish. Aromas of bright stone, tropical or berry fruit, lemon, lime, fine balsamic vinegar, kombucha, sourdough bread, hay, dried fruit, oak. Light to medium body, crisp, medium to high carbonation.
Sip Them With
Fresh goat cheese, garden or fruit salads, spring rolls. Anything you would squeeze citrus on: fish tacos, Thai curries, grilled chicken, veggie bowls, fish burgers.
Serve these cold, but not ice-cold, in a stemmed wine glass or champagne flute. Drink wild ales in a tulip or red wine glass, a few minutes out of the fridge, to enhance aromas. Don’t overthink this, though—as you slowly savour the beer, it will eventually come to the proper serving temperature.
These tart, bubbly brews are one of the hottest beer styles in the world, appealing to both connoisseurs and casual beer lovers looking for something a little different. Forget bitterness—instead, these beers balance acidity and sweetness. They drink more like cider or wine than beer, wooing drinkers with their wonderful acidity and fruity centres.
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