Heralded as the next big thing for more than three years now, sours occupy a divisive corner of the beer world. According to the internet, it’s women who love them. No, wait, it’s gender-nonspecific hipsters. Or maybe everyone loves sour beers, we just don’t know how to talk about them.
In truth, anyone who appreciates tangy flavors and a bit of funk can get into the category. Our favorite fruited sours span effervescent American ales blended with heritage peaches, sour lagers punctuated by black currants, and blended blonde ales aged in wine barrels with berries and stone fruits. Here are five of our favorite fruited sour beers.
Robust, complex, and delightfully tart, Firestone Walker’s funky wild ale has a hazy, golden hue, moderate effervescence, and knockout fruity aromas. Made with locally sourced California white dwarf peaches, it’s less aggressively fruit-forward than some peach beers. Look for earthy notes (the beer undergoes a long maturation in oak) and a puckeringly dry finish.
So hibiscus is not a fruit, it’s a flowering plant. But it’s complemented by black currant (totally a berry!) in this tart, refreshing beer from New York’s SingleCut. Wheat malt and lager yeast provide balance and keep Kim Hibiscus from tasting perfumy or overly fruited. Pale pink with a dry finish, this is a great option for people who claim not to like sour beers.
Those seeking more fruit than funk will appreciate Avery’s Apricot Sour. Fruit-forward without being saccharine, this is a crowd-pleasing number. It balances juicy, stone-fruit sweetness with barrel-aged tang and pleasant bretty notes. Best of all, it’s available nationally in supermarkets and liquor stores.
Named for apricot pits (noyaux translates to “stone” in French), this Oregon brewery’s blend of sour blonde ales is aged with raspberries and apricots in white wine barrels for up to 24 months. The result is tart, tangy, and straight-up delicious, making this one of our favorite beers of 2017. Noyaux is bright and bubbly, with a ruby-red color and faint notes of almond and rose petals.
This barrel-aged sour blonde ale from Bloomington, Indiana is admittedly not an easy beer to get one’s hands on. Upland releases limited quantities available on a first-come, first-served basis, but playing the odds is worth it. This is a big, funky affair that packs a lot of punch into a modest 6 percent ABV. Made from a blend of one-, two-, and three-year-old blonde ales, the aptly named Sour Reserve tastes dry and earthy, with green apple and stone fruit on the finish.