While we are living in the days of a love for IPA craft beers, a new type of beer has stepped into the game. Sour beer offers a variety of tangy tasting notes that can appeal to beer lovers, as well as wine and cider drinkers. While offering a craft beer to someone who does not typically indulge in such may not win them over, bringing something new and different can certainly get people talking.
Sour beer includes some volatile ingredients in order to give it its sharp and acidic taste. Using the same healthy bacteria that is used in dairy products such as milk and yogurt brings out new flavors to beer. This must be done carefully to ensure proper taste and safety, but it can have very flavorful results.
Brewing beer using Lactobacillus and Pediococcus must be done with caution because it does increase the susceptibility to infection in the brew house. These raw yeasts and bacteria need to be handled properly in order to prevent contamination of other items.
Sour beers can be produced in various ways. Some use a mixed fermentation process, while others use the less controlled option of spontaneous fermentation that uses natural yeast and bacteria that is present in the air to begin fermentation on its own.
Another method that is more instantaneous is “kettle souring,” which is a fast way to develop the same flavor profile of the beer, just with a faster cycle of stages to obtain the sour taste. The main difference between sour beers and typical IPAs is the malt and ingredients in the beer. Many beers are heavy in wheat, which makes them thick and full of body.
Fruit is also commonly present in beer, due to their help with fermentability, as well as unique flavors that can balance out the sour taste of the beer with sweetness, making it more palatable.
The shift to sour beer is a way for brewers to get creative and show their inventiveness. Hops are a great traditional choice, but many people are looking for a change.
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