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But some beer aficionados have their doubts. Author Brian Yaeger, who visited Stone Brewing Co. in March while promoting his 2008 beer-travel book, Red, White and Brew: An American Beer Odyssey, suspects that many brewers are dumping Brettanomyces into their vats for the sake of riding the wagon.

“These beers are trendy and they sell, but just pouring a beer into an infected barrel doesn’t make it worth twice as much,” says Yaeger. “Funk for the sake of funk doesn’t interest me.”

Arthur, at Lost Abbey, agrees that there can be “bad” sour beers. They will be either too high on the Acetobacter-vinegar notes and too low on the Brett-barnyard essence or vice versa. Balance, says Arthur, is usually the trick. McIlhenney of Alpine Beer doesn’t even care for the horse sweat–barnyard characteristics so revered by others; he will soon be releasing two barrel-aged Brett beers that, if he can manage, will taste like tart cherry pie.

Most brewers predict that sour beers will remain a specialty product — like an expensive party gag. Koch notes that craft beers occupy only 5 percent of the beer market, and sour beers less than 5 percent of that.

“Sour beers are, by their nature, an enthusiast’s style, and even enthusiasts don’t drink them every day. They’ll never go mainstream.”

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Comments

Fred Williams Nov. 24, 2009 @ 9:43 p.m.

I thought Jesus turned water into wine.

Now you're saying it's actually microscopic bacteria?

That's not in the Bible!

:-)

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PistolPete Nov. 24, 2009 @ 9:52 p.m.

I must try one of these sour beers the author speaks of...

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David Dodd Nov. 24, 2009 @ 9:56 p.m.

I love hoppy, but not sour. I'll stick to microbrews sans microbes.

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PistolPete Nov. 24, 2009 @ 10:10 p.m.

I'd like to try one just to live a little. I'm hardly the most trendiest person on the planet but beer is a special beverage to me. I drink beer like most people drink coffee. I used to HATE micro breweries and foo-foo beers but I've actually come around to them. Maybe California has changed me in certain aspects of my personality...

I'm moving to Esco on Saturday so maybe next week I'll skedaddle on over to Stone Brewery. I've heard ALOT of great things about them. LOVE their Arrogant Bastard.

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SDaniels Nov. 24, 2009 @ 11:41 p.m.

IMO, Stone's best brews are Arrogant Bastard and Stone IPA. The lambics are ok, but their sours are terrible, overly sour, and numb the palate. Also over the top are experimental brews such as the bitter chocolate and oatmeal--you lose what you love in crafted beers and ales, the yeasty baked breadness, effervescent fun of them.

I would recommend getting a Bastard or a Stone, and having a bowl of cheddar soup with their freshly baked pretzels to dip.

Also admirable about Stone Brewery is their commitment to the environment; the grounds around are composted with restaurant food waste, and they recycle water for the garden, too--maybe use grain husks, as well? The ambience is casual and contemplative when not too busy, with the high ceilings, wood and stainless steel accents.

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Fred Williams Nov. 25, 2009 @ 12:42 a.m.

"I drink beer like most people drink coffee."

Hot? With cream and sugar?

Ugh...

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PistolPete Nov. 25, 2009 @ 12:47 a.m.

LOL! If only it was that easy, Fred. I just simply meant that it's not uncommon to see me at 8 in the morning with a frosty cold one in my hand. Granted, I don't do it very often because I'm usually back in bed by 8, but it's not uncommon. Tomorrow night, I'll get some ice for my cooer full of beer. It'll get nice and frosty, ice cold and I'll be cracking open my first one as Boomer and the boys break down the Thanksgiving matchups. It'll be 8 in the morning because Green Bay and Detroit square off at 9:30am PDT.

The last time I drank beer for breakfast, was earlier today. Granted it was 11am but it was still my after wake-up "coffee".

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