I've been listening to some beer podcasts over the last month, most notably, The Brewing Network's Sunday Session. A regular interest and discussed topic among the podcast hosts is sour beer. Also, the writer of the Mad Fermentationist blog is a brewer of sour beers. That got me to wondering what sour beers are like.
Sour beers use wild yeasts (i.e., spontaneous fermentation), with such yeast strains as Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, and Brettanomyces. Due to the unpredictable nature of the brewing technique, the beers are often mixed to get a desirable flavor.
The style comes from Belgium. Here in the States, there are sour beers being made in the West coast (e.g., Russian River Brewing Company). Supposedly there are even gastro-pubs with sour beers on tap. Here on the East coast, there are not as many options.
One company that does have an example of a sour beer is Lindemans, a Belgian company. They are known for their sweet, fruit-flavored lambics. Their Cuvee Rene, however, is quite different...and sour.
|Lindemans Cuvee Rene|
BeerAdvocate review of the Cuvee Rene.
With all the discussion of sour beers and new breweries here in the States making sour beer, I would not be surprised if we see more prevalence of sour beers in the craft beer market.