Craft-Beer Aficionados, Let Yourself Be Tempted!

Acid or sour beers are really a breed apart. First of all because of their rather special taste. For some and in this precise case, “special” will very quickly turn into “aggressive” or “repulsive.” For others, they begin to approach a rare form of the delicious.

For the lay public, a sour beer has the major drawback of appearing to be infected by some bacterium. Under anaerobic conditions, lactic-acid bacteria can cause volatile unpleasant smells or off-flavors. But for insiders, that unusual taste is the very objective they seek.

So, how would I know?

Of course, I have the right not to appreciate acidity. But it would be a pity to confuse an involuntary acidity and a deliberate sour taste. For example, if the beer gushes abnormally when opened or if the rate of alcohol is obviously too low, it’s because the bacteria have consumed the sugars or because the ethanol has oxidized into acetic acid. You can be sure that’s not what aficionados want…

Historically, these beers are Belgian and German, from Berliner Weisse to Gueuze via Flanders brown ales. There are recent American examples, while some Flemish breweries immortalize a beautiful diversity.

The initiate looks for that sour-mash taste: Bacteria acidify the mixture in a controlled environment. S/he also seeks the acidic taste that can be created by acidifying bacteria during the aging process, which is exactly the case of today’s spontaneously fermented beer.

Produced by the Brouwerij Hof ten Dormaal (Flemish Brabant, Belgium), this beer, called Zure, has an amazing dried-citrus and balsamic-vinegar taste —  which is still very different from the aroma of old socks of an infected beer. This 6%-ABV sour beer is an experience to be tried. Not overly complex, it presents all the advantages of an excellent beer of this singular style.