You’ve heard of them, you’ve seen them in stores, and you’ve most likely drank at least one (in which case, you may already love them) - but what ARE sour beers?
The term ‘sour beer’ is an overarching term, encompassing an incredibly diverse gamut of beers. Back in the day before the science behind pasteurisation and sterilisation was mainstream, most beer would end up with some level of sourness - due to the presence of wild yeasts and bacteria.
These days, sour beers are more often made by design rather than accident - whether it’s through inoculation with things like lactobacillus, pediococcus, brettanomyces yeast, naturally soured by the wild microorganisms in the environment, or a mix of the whole lot.
Typically what these bacterias & yeasts do is create different types of acidity in the beer: lactobacillus & pediococcus will form lactic acid, others will create acetic acid, and brettanomyces can create any number of wild effects, positive and also potentially negative (just ask winemakers!).
Thus, the term ’sour beer’ encompasses a wide range of beer styles, flavours, acid levels, and funk - from the lightly tart & fresh-fruited berliner weisse & gose, all the way to complex lambics and wild ales with years of barrel age on them.
Sour beers can be uniquely difficult to categorise, so one of the best ways to get your head around them is just to drink ‘em, read a bit about the brewery and beer style, then go from there! Some of the barrel-aged brews can get a bit pricey (and rightfully so, they can take years to mature), but that makes them the perfect thing to bring along to your next dinner party, or that beer club you’ve been dreaming of setting up! (just us?)
Want to start somewhere? Try out our sour beer pack or check out some of the below...