Walter Mencken 3:39 p.m., June 18
In 2011, a pair of Twitter-savvy beer industry insiders managed to rally droves of imbibers from here, there, and everywhere to down an India pale ale (IPA) on August 2. It started with a hash-tag—#IPADay—and, thanks in part to hordes of tweet-happy hopheads, evolved into something real. IPA Day is now an annual excuse to be part of a lupulin-laced communal activity that’s transcended the social media experiment from which it was hatched. It was such a success, there’s now an International Stout Day as well.
I enjoy and respect an artfully-crafted liquid ode to the tropically bitter botanical attributes of the almighty hop, and few things are as appealing as a silken roasty stout, but I absolutely adore sour beers. The thing is, they aren’t as readily available as most other styles of beer like IPAs or stouts, which are everywhere. Shoot, every day is IPA Day in my hometown of San Diego. So, my ears and taste buds instantly perked up when a friend of mine recently said to me, “Hey, I want to start up a Sour Beer Day—second Saturday of September sound good?”
Now, I’m not much of a trendsetter, but I can jump on a bandwagon with the best of ‘em! He got on Facebook and created a page for Sour Beer Day, and started contacting a handful of noted U.S. craft beer bars to get their support. Meanwhile, I got on my laptop and got to work on this post, thinking if IPA Day could be such a big success, why not try to replicate that with sours?
After all, the establishment of Sour Beer Day would not only raise peoples’ craft beer consciousness the way IPA Day and Stout Day have, but also—through the support of bars, restaurants, and breweries willing to make available special offerings for this one-day event—provide the opportunity for sour beer fanatics and first-timers alike to get a glass of something tart, tasty, and harder to come by. If nothing else, it would further extend the craft beer camaraderie that makes the aforementioned beer-oriented days truly special.
To me, that’s the best part—creating a reason for people with a shared passion to do something fun, whether it’s in a social hub or on the couch at home, whether it’s a common variety brew pulled from a draught handle or a special 10-year-old bottle salvaged from the dusty confines of a collector’s cellar. It’s about the beer…and so much more—flavor, fun, socializing, joy, merriment, fellowship, solidarity. I don’t know about you, but I’m up for embracing anything that can so easily infuse all of that into my life on what would otherwise be just another day.
So, how about it? Let’s rally around this thing! Like Sour Beer Day on Facebook, follow @SourBeerDay on Twitter and tweet about it using the hash-tag #SourBeerDay, or simply hoist a lambic, gueuze, Berliner weisse, or other deliciously acidic brew on Saturday, September 8. Brewery, bar, restaurant, and bottle shop owners, put on a sour keg (or several), pull some special bottles from the cold room, offer a sour beer pairing, or, if that’s not feasible, simply help spread the word and join in the Sour Beer Day fun next year. It doesn't have to be a complicated effort or some grand gesture. It’s beer. It's easy. It’s fun. It’s #SourBeerDay! Cheers to that!