The World's Sourest Beers Slideshow
July 11, 2011
Lambrucha, Vanberg & Dewulf
Uniting a Belgian lambic with the fermented tea called kombucha, both of which contain a Brettanomyces strain, makes this mouth-twisting mash-up. The mixture is monstrously effervescent, with sharp flavors that flit from green apples to zested lemon.
Juliet, Goose Island Beer Co.
This Belgian ale is inoculated with wild yeasts and consigned to cabernet barrels alongside plenty of blackberries. The outcome is fruity, tart, and suffused with spicy, tannic notes of oak.
La Folie, New Belgium Brewing
This face-contorting treat is aged in French oak barrels for up to three years, creating earthy, sour-apple flavors and a bright, acidic body. A tidbit of caramel keeps the sourness in check — somewhat.
Brute, Ithaca Beer Co.
This straw-toned ale spends months in Brettanomyces-infested oak casks before being finished with Champagne yeasts. The result is a funky bouquet of wood and lemons crossed with lively carbonation and the subtle flavor of citrus and leather.
La Roja, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
At the Michigan outfit, brewers let yeast strains drifting through the air inoculate the amber ale, which is a blend of batches aged in bourbon or red wine barrels for two to 10 months. The outcome is an earthy revelation with a perfume of dark fruit and hay.
Interlude, Allagash Brewing Company
The Maine brewery’s innovative delight hits you with flavors of citrus, apple and sour funk that are smoothed out by a stint in French-oak barrels that once contained red wine.
Gueuze, Brasserie Cantillon
To create this Belgian beauty, one-, two-, and three-year-old batches of oak-aged lambics are blended. Though releases slightly vary by year, expect an aroma that’s by turns funky, citrusy, and super-sour. Gueuze goes down sharp and crisp, with hints of melon.
Oude Kriek, Hanssens Artisanaal
The Belgian brewery’s kriek is constructed by adding black cherries to a lambic, then storing the elixir in oak for more than a year. When ready, the results are transcendent: A barnyard-hinted nose of cherries and vanilla oak are matched by a beautifully fruity, bone-dry tartness.
The Vine, Cascade Brewing
The blend of Belgian-style tripels, golden ales, and blonde quads is refermented with the juice of fresh-pressed white wine grapes. It packs a puckering sourness, with a sweet fruit foundation and breakneck bubbles.