I like to think that my palate is always evolving. I would hate to think there is a beer style out there that doesn’t appeal to my ever expanding open mindness. As I talked about in one of my first posts, pilsners almost immediately initiate a gag reflex but there seems to always be the exception. My Antonia from Dogfish Head was the one in that case. I did not used to care about stouts until I was introduced to good Old Rasputin and my world went dark (Get it? Dark?). So until recently I had a hard time with a certain beer style that is relatively new to the mainstream craft brew drinker in sours.
I didn’t get it. It was a winey and tart taste profile that I thought was a horrible idea. Then you get the cool kids sipping back on their sour beers describing how complex the experience is and how cool they are because nobody else was drinking them. I wanted to be a cool kid. I tried my best, but in the end I just wasn’t cool enough. Fast forward about a year and unbeknownst to me I purchased a sour beer from Jolly Pumpkin called Madrugada Obscura (Dark Dawn Stout). Being that they were new to the islands I was not aware of their modus operandi. A predominantly sour producing brewery. Upon first sip of this bit of tart darkness my world again was thrown into turmoil. It was outstanding! Everything you’d expect from a dark beer and then the sour notes swoop in and make the whole experience feel sophisticated somehow. I felt cool finally. I realized that like other beer styles a sour can be more than a singular experience.
So maybe it was time to open this palate up to a whole new world of jaw muscle tightening brews. A late night bar hop (no pun intended, but pun totally nailed) with the family eventually led to the last stop of the night, The Pig and the Pickle in Concord, CA. On tap, the Dark Pumpkin Sour from Almanac Beer Co. The color was a beautiful hue of autumn and a faint, almost non existent aroma of pumpkin. Each sip wrung my palate out like a wet towel and as it warmed up I was exhaling out of my eyes. It has become what I expect out of all sour beers, a benchmark. By the way, this brew comes in at 7.75/10 on the UrD scale. Almanac eventually made their way out to Hawaii and brought a portion of their solid sour lineup with them. My favorite from their inaugural tap attack at BREW’d in Kaimuki, Oahu was the Dogpatch Sour which had a glorious balance of sweet fruit and sour daggers in my jawline. This one comes in at 7.5/10 on the UrD scale.
I never thought I would one day be on a search for amazing sour beers, but alas here I go on another journey in the Bay Area to find a bucket list sour destination, The Rare Barrel in Berkeley, CA. I am finding excitement in the possibilities that something special will pass through these lips and put me in my beer snobbing place. I find myself gearing up for some massive strain on my palate in a way that only these sour bits of magic can. I love that because of the unpredictability of these brews because of their bacterial and aging processes means that you are truly getting a singular and unique experience every time. I love the exclusivity of the beer style itself. I want to grow a beard and wear glasses that do nothing but highlight my amazing cheek bones so that I can be like the cool kids these days. I just want a beer that changes my world. Is that too much to ask?