Jack Of All Brews organized its very first commercial sour tasting for this last Saturday. Andrew and Janelle were kind enough to host in their wonderful back yard and furnish us with plenty of cheeses, breads, crackers, meats, and of course sour beers! This was a pretty laid-back and small group, but the day was perfect and there were plenty of amazing beers to share amongst those present. You can see the grape vines and garden in the background of the picture above, also ripe with plenty of gooseberries and future raspberries for future brewing endeavors.
Let us talk beers. Andrew cracked two beers from The Bruery: Filmishmish (subtle apricot,) and Oude Tart (amazing Belgian Red.) I wish we could get this brewery's beers here in Minnesota, as they also make the best Imperial stout I've ever had. One of my favorites of the day was Goose Island's Lolita, seeming much more complex with raspberry than I remember it from last year's batch. I think my personal favorite was Odell Friek, a combination of cherry and raspberry with just a hint of sweetness.
Two sour golden ales were opened, including TPS Report from Trinity and New Glarus R&D, both very refreshing and tart.
All the way from Italy came the Panil Barriquee from 2008 (thanks Steven!) Aged in cognac barrels, this beer was sweet with hints of dark fruit.
Then we get some real Belgian beers! Goudenband from Liefmans was very smooth and had some fruity complexity, almost coming off as a sour dark strong. For something truly unique we tried the Cantillon Mamouche, golden and light, made with elderflowers. Also from Cantillon was an aggressively sour gueuze Cuvee des Champions, with black pepper and parmesan cheese notes. Better than it sounds! Another of that style was the rare Girardin Black Label.
Our least favorites of the day were the Monstre Rouge which tasted somewhat sweet and hoppy, and the HaandBryggeriet Wild Thing. The Wild Thing was very strongly phenolic with hints of bandaid and smoke, also lots of black chunks. Not a big fan. Stick with Sahti you crazy Norwegians!
The foods and fruits we had to clear the palate certainly changed the character of these beers. The brie and blue cheese were the biggest hits.
We need to do this again next year with a bigger showing, more people means more beers to try. I'm hoping we can get to try some of Andrew's sours that are currently in process, especially ones made with the dregs of yesterday's winners!