Sour beers have recently become insanely popular in the U.S. but have been produced in Belgium and Germany for hundreds of years.
Berliner Weisse and Strawberry Gose are just two old/new beers being currently produced by Angel City Brewery.
How do brewers make their beer sour?
Yeast has a huge influence on how the beer tastes.
If you change the type of yeast, you will have an entirely different beer.
The first is a type of yeast is called Brettanomyces, aka Brett.
Sour beer brewers use it to create flavor.
Brett doesn’t make sour flavors like if you sucked on a lemon but instead creates complexity like hay or leather.
The best description I have heard is “sweaty horse blanket for Brettanomyces.”
The two other elements that produce sour flavors are bacterias: lactobacillus and pediococcus.
The iconic Belgian sour beer is a Lambic type beer.
Lambics are spontaneously fermented, which means they are exposed to wild yeasts and bacteria native to the region.
Basically the brewers leave the windows open to invite whatever flavor or yeast that is in the air.
The open fermenter that looks like a shallow swimming pool and gives beer its distinctive flavor… a sour aftertaste.
Naturally occurring wild yeast and bacteria in the air find their way into the beer as it cools.
Then the beer is transferred to wooden barrels to ferment.
This is terroir for beer.
If a lambic brewer changed locations it would change the taste of their beer.
Berliner Weisse—The People’s Champagne
Berliner Weisse is a cloudy, sour, white beer with low alcohol content of about 3% ABV.
The sour beer was nearly extinct in its home region but has become wildly popular among American craft beer drinkers in the last few years.
The white beer style is from Northern Germany and dates back to the 15th century.
It is made from barley and wheat malt which are kilned at a low temperatures to minimize color.
The fermentation process is a mixture of yeast and lactic acid bacteria which creates a lactic acid taste.
Berliner Weisse was the most popular alcoholic drink in Berlin by the late 19th century.
Napoleon Bonaparte once exclaimed that Berliner Weisse was the “Champagne of the North”.
The style is a tart, dry, and effervescent wheat beer that was also called the “Champagne of the People”.
Berliner Weisse has made a comeback in the last few years thanks to the American sour craft beer movement.
In Germany it is served with a shot of raspberry syrup to tone down the beer’s acidity.
American prefer the style straight to maintain the tart bite that sour beer drinkers covet.
Gose: The Rare Barrel
Gose (pronounced “go-suh”) is a top-fermenting beer that originated in Goslar, Germany.
This style is made sour by inoculating the wort with lactic acid bacteria before primary alcoholic fermentation.
It is also characterized by the use of coriander and salt.
Lemon is the dominant flavor in gose and the beer does not have prominent hoppy aroma.
The beers typically have a moderate alcohol content of 4 to 5% ABV.
Brewers in Leipzig, Germany copied the style and by the end of the 1800s there were lots of “gose taverns” in the city.
Storing and Serving Gose and Berliner Weisse
Since sour beers are acidic (similar pH to wine) and have very little hops, they can age well over years.
Both sour beers can be stored in a cool dark place for up to five years.
It will maintain its quality and becomes gradually fruitier.
It is best served at a temperature of 46—50°F (8—10°C).
CO2 expands as it heats up, so beer stored above 55 degrees will lose CO2 over time as it expands out of solution.
Berliner Weisse is almost never consumed straight because of its tartness.
Both sour beers can be drunk “mit Schuss,” or, “with a shot” of raspberry flavored syrup.
Because of the lack of sweetness and strong salty finish, the syrup gives the beers a much smoother aftertaste.
Add about of a jigger of syrup into the glass and pour the Berliner Weisse over it.
Beer stored at 38°F will retain the level of carbonation that was created during the brewing process.
Temperature has a profound effect on taste buds and chemical compounds in beer are activated and suppressed according to temperature.
Cold will suppress flavors while warmth will pick up and accent flavors.
Choosing just the right temperature ensures that these chemicals are balanced as you drink.
Storing Craft Beer with a NewAir AB1200 Craft Beer Cooler
Brewmaster, Adam Avery, tells people to put it in the coolest spot in your house or buy an extra refrigerator.
“All my beer is stored in the 40°–45°F range. There is some fluctuation but never warmer than 45°F and never colder than 38°F.”
Having a party? This cooler offers enough storage to keep you and your guests well-supplied.
With 5 removable racks and a spacious storage bin, the NewAir AB-1200 cooler will hold up to 126 bottles of your favorite sour beer.
7 Thermostat Settings
Enjoy the benefits of 7 individual thermostat settings. This NewAir AB-1200 126 can beer cooler lets you custom chill your beverages just the way you like them.
This beverage cooler is built to last. Enjoy years of use when you use the NewAir AB-1200.
Made from sturdy materials this cooler will chill your beverages for years to come.
Featuring a black and stainless steel finish the NewAir AB-1200 beer cooler flatters any indoor decor.
No matter where you set it up: a home bar, rec. room, or dorm, this cooler will look great!
The NewAir AB-1200 uses R-134A refrigerant, which prevents damage to the ozone layer.
Beer making in the U.S. has come full circle and nowadays there are more breweries in America than any other country in the world.
Sour beer sales are steadily growing and new styles emerge daily to serve a new generation of American sour beer drinker.
Check out the AB-1200 on NewAir.com