As apart of Seattle Beer Week, Brouwer's Cafe threw the annual Sour Fest, with a tap take over of sours from all over the country. Even with the massive size of the beer hall (over 60 taps), Sour Fest always draws a big crowd. So I decided to go in the afternoon after the fest, as almost all the sours were still tapped, to avoid the rush. The mellow environment of the bar in the afternoon was perfect for trying out an abundance of the sour beers.
All the sours I tried somehow all tied back to memories of childhood: picking wild berries, the smell of a horse barn, harvest season. It was comforting and representative of the power of our senses. I was transported to the tart flavors of spring, the aroma of flowers blooming, the dirtiness of playing outside in the sun. And even with the varying types of brewing, they all manged to being back warm memories.
Below are my favorite of the Pacific Northwest sours. Cheers!
Ecliptic Brewing // Syrah BBl-Aged Ultra Violet Blackberry Sour // Portland, OR // 7.5% ABV
Color: Auburn, deep orange
Smell: Pear, unripe fruit, fresh grass
Taste: For the high ABV, this is pleasantly rounded, possibly an effect of being aged in barrels. It's tart but never too sour. The profile ends in acidic, unripe blackberry. But the sour sensation lasts on the tip of the tongue and the back of the throat.
Overall: Brings back memories of scavenging blackberry bushes in summer after all the plump, ripe ones have been picked. A little taste of childhood.
Schooner Exact Brewing // Fram Boyz in the Hood Sour // Seattle, WA // 5% ABV
Color: Light pink head, tawny, magenta, soft peach.
Smell: Sour, ripe red fruit
Taste: Not as sour as it smells! The beginning of the profile is sour and green, but the body is full and juicy, ending slightly tart and bitter.
Overall: Sip after sip this framboise style sour leaves my mouth watering. It's satiating and sour, juicy and unripe, embodying the entirety of a raspberry bush.
Pfriem Brewers // Peche Lambic Style Sour // Hood River, OR // 5.8% ABV
Color: Bright hazy, canary yellow
Smell: Farmhouse funk, manure, straw, cheese
Taste: Rustic and refreshing with a mellow body. The end of the profile is long lasting with just the right amount of peach and lemon citrus to create that fresh sensation without the puckering sourness.
Overall: The drink of a farmer after a hard day working in the sun. The citrus bite is never overwhelming and the contrast between the smell and taste is incredible. It takes me back to working in a horse barn in the summer.