I haven’t been able or even willing to answer the question, “What is your favorite beer?” for years. But for the last year or so I could give an answer to, “What is your favorite style of beer?” Hands down I would say IPA: double, imperial, the hoppier the better.
But lately I have a new infatuation - sour beers.
I’ve been a fan of the Duchess for quite a while, but I don’t really consider her a sour. There’s a bit too much sweet and not enough tart for her to actually be considered a sour in my book. But I suppose she must be given credit for leading the charge on my taste buds, pushing me in the right direction.
Since having been in Oregon, I've a wonderful sour blend at Upright Brewing and a Summer Gose from Cascade Brewing while attending the Oregon Brewers Festival. Just this week, in part to show the McG’s around our new home, we went made a maiden voyage to Cascade Brewing and made a return visit to Upright Brewing.
Cascade currently calls the Raccoon Lodge in SW Portland home (soon to be opening a much anticipated barrel room) and when we stopped in they were offering up somewhere around ten beers, of which nearly half of them were sour. Their Summer Gose caught my eye right away, but having already tasted it, I gave the Winter Gose a try. It was a good beer, with the spice notes being more subtle than I feared and the sour notes more pronounced than I had expected. But I was eager to return to the stronger sour notes of Summer. Then it was on to the Frite Galois, which offered the most sour notes of all and was my favorite of the session. Their Raspberry Wheat was also surprisingly good, with fruit and sour notes drowning out nearly all the wheat flavor and one of the most lovely shades of pink-lilac to have ever graced a beer glass.
At Upright, a young nano-brewery that uses open fermentation, the sour blend I’d had before was long gone, but the Barrel Aged Four was at least as good. After aging for a month or more, the wheat flavors of the original Four were virtually gone, being replaced by wonderfully sour flavors. Their two other “modified” beers, Long Pepper Six and Dry Hop Five, offered up bits of sourness, but nothing to satisfy the pucker seeking sour lover.
This is by no means the extent of sour beer I should be able to get my hands on and I can’t wait to see what makes me pucker next.