Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Got Zuur if you want it.

It’s wild how often sour comes up in conversation among my friends, or perhaps it’s sour how often wild … well, you get the idea. Hops get the most buzz overall in my world, but it seems that quite a few sour enthusiasts have gathered in these environs over the years. And to think, not once have I encouraged them ...

If you're just tuning in, RateBeer provides a helpful basic definition: “Sour ale is a broad spectrum of wild ales, from the fruity Flemish sours such as Rodenbach nd Liefmans, to the experimental wild ales recently gaining popularity in the United States.”

The preceding, along with ales from Jolly Pumpkin and even NABC (ours is called Phoenix Kentucky Komon, and should be getting brewed right about now) are good places to start. I drank another good example last week while in Boston: Ommegang's Zuur, billed as a collaborative effort between it and Belgium's Liefman's, the latter undergoing somewhat of a revival back in Oud Bruin Land.

Sifting through the testimony provided in two Internet locales (below), I hope I'm on firm ground in concluding that Zuur is more of a custom blend than a collaboration in the usual sense of massed brewers. Ommegang makes the point that the ales blended by Liefmans to make Zuur (but according to Ommegang's specs) have not been aged in wood, but in stainless steel. That translates into less wild, still sour. The example I enjoyed on draft was not overpowering, but sour, hinting at the cherries in the blend, and definitely in the brown mold, as opposed to red.

Zuur is good stuff. We've bought some bottles for sale at the Public House, where they'll be selling for $17.50 each (25.4 ounces). Supplies are limited, so if you're interested, come on down and relish the sour tickling.

Sources: Brew Like a Monk and Ommegang Zuur Sour Ale debuts this summer.

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