#SippyTimeBeer Review – Sour Beer & Russian River

Russian River Supplication

You have to drink it a Belgian beer glass.

At the beginning of the month, I posted an article tweeted by Michael Symon that was titled “A Brief History of Sour Beer” from The New Yorker. It was more brief than I expected. And the beginning of the story was more recent than I had expected. A batch of beer that was made in 1996 by William Reed impressed Michael Jackson, a British beer maker, and it helped make the style take off in America. The main differences between this beer and other are: letting wild yeasts infect the beers through the barrels they are aged in or through contact with open air. It is mostly a Belgian invention, around World War I, so that is where the Americans have learned from. It is also where I tried previous sour beers, but not known it. My ex-wife liked Lindeman’s lambics quite a bit and so did I. The price was an obstacle to drinking it more often. Recently though, I have gotten to taste two, authentic sour beers made in California from Russian River. I’m sure glad my neighbors like to drink too.

Russian River Brewing CompanySupplication – This beer happens to be aged in Pinot Noir barrels with cherries added. The article pointed out that the beer re-ferments when they add a fruit after the original fermenting. The beer itself starts as a Brown Ale but definitely morphs into something much different from normal. The cherry taste makes you pucker quite a bit. The comparison to liquid Sour Patch Kids in the article is appropriate. I’m not much of a wine expert since I mainly drink Chianti, which is from Tuscany in Italy. I’m not sure what flavors it brings to the beer but again, you can tell there’s a difference. The barrels are made of oak so that flavor is supposed to seep in too but I didn’t taste it. I know it can be tasted because Brothers Drake Meadery in town has a Honey Oak Meade and it has a very distinct woody flavor. Even though a lot of thought and time went into this beer, I wasn’t a fan of it. Too much pucker in it to be a beer I like.

Russian River Brewing CompanySanctification – I wouldn’t be able to write this column if it weren’t for my level of curiosity. I knew I didn’t like sour beer #1 but you need to try three to officially stop torturing your palate. This beer starts out as a Golden Ale but makes a less complicated journey to a final product. The sour taste was more pronounced, probably because there wasn’t the extra Pinot Noir & oak flavors tossed in there. It could also be because Golden Ales tend to have a less forceful flavor than a Brown Ale. It was wise to choose the stronger flavored beer to stand up to additional flavors and the less assertive one to take on less flavor. It leads me back to the point of it being more sour though, which I’m not looking for in my beer. I’m not really a sour guy though I do enjoy some Sour Patch Kids and lemonade from time to time. Strike two for sour beers. I’ll let you know when I try #3 before giving up on them. -Kevin

Russian River Sanctification

Or you can drink it in an old English pint beer glass.

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