Steve Hindy and Tom Potter founded Brooklyn Brewery in the mid 1980’s. In the beginning, most of the beer was brewed on contract sites in upstate New York, until they found space in Williamsburg for a functioning brewery. It all started with Brooklyn Lager, but today the brewery produces over 16 year-round brews with and multiple seasonal selections throughout the year. They have grown well beyond their microbrew roots, to one of the most recognizable brands on the market today.
brooklynbrewery.com – “Brooklyn Bel Air Sour is full of surprises. Our sour ale starts up with bright notes of tropical fruit yet finishes crisp and gently tart. It’s a trip that’s laid back, breezy, and completely refreshing.”
Pour: Light yellow in color and slightly hazy with a good amount of carbonation. A small off white 1 finger heads forms before fading quickly.
Nose: A good amount of fruit, pineapple really stood out to me, and floral hops. There’s really nice tart aroma with some wheat behind it.
Palate: Very smooth and balanced making it easy to drink, has more of citrus taste to it mixed with wheat and lemon grass. Tart but not but overly sour, the finish is clean with no acidity giving it a refreshing feel.
Overall: The sour style has been huge last two years and is still growing with bigger breweries joining the party, including Brooklyn last year. This was a seasonal release last year and I can see why they added to the year round line up, very refreshing and easy to drink.
Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.4 out of 5 Pints
Just off the western coast of Sweden, Dugges Brewing is an idea turned reality for Mikael Dugge Engström, who is not only the founder but head brewmaster.
Dugges is known for lots of hops, strong flavors, and experimenting with new styles of beer. They often release small test batches like Tropic Punch Ale, a sour fruit beer brewed with mangos and passion fruit. It’s a collaboration with nomadic brewer Brian Strumke of Stillwater Artisanal.
Pour: A hazy golden color, like tropical fruit punch. A very small head forms but fades quickly.
Nose: Fruit, fruit and more fruit with a slight tartness on the end.
Pallet: On the lighter side with a slight sparkle. Super juicy with plenty of peach, mango and passion fruit to go around. The finish is clean with no acidity and mild tartness brings it all together.
Overall: Wow! I wasn’t really sure what to expect when opening this one, I’ve had plenty of sour ales that are brewed with tropical fruits but you can really taste them in this one. One sip is full with sweet peaches and the next with more of a passion fruit feel, the back and forth is delicious and refreshing.
Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.5 Out Of 5 Pints
Cooperstown, New York is famously known for the Baseball Hall of Fame, but it’s also the perfect place to make beer.
In the early 19th Century, Cooperstown was the epicenter of hop production. Having deep wells with high quality water, Cooperstown is a brewer’s paradise. Ommegang, a Belgian Style brewery opened its doors in 1997 and has since been purchased by Duvel. They have continued to grow in popularity, while expanding the portfolio. Recently they have gained even more popularity with a line beers centered on HBO’s hit show Game of Thrones.
6.9% ABV 9 IBU
Pour: Pours a vivid golden orange. The head is white, about 1 finger and lingers.
Nose: Slightly wheaty and floral with a hint of sourness.
Palate: Funky with hints of apple and lemons light bodied and malty. The finish is clean crisp almost like a white wine whit a slight tartness.
Overall: Wasn’t really sure what to expect with this one. Some reviews said it leaned more towards a sour ale but I got more pale ale. There was some tartness to it, but more malty for sure. An interesting take on a classic style that was very enjoyable.
Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Out Of 5 Pints
Evil Twin Brewing has rapidly grown in popularity, with its one-off style and limited releases offerings since 2006. Operated as a “gypsy” brewery, meaning they set up shop temporarily in other breweries like Westbrook Brewing Company in South Carolina or Two Roads Brewing Company in Connecticut. Leasing out space is no small endeavor, as last year Evil Twin brewed more than 7,000 barrels!
Tropical is a Berliner Weisse brewed with Passionfruit.
Pour: Very light golden with lots of carbonation. Almost champagne like.
Head: A thick off-white forms and hangs around before slowly fading.
Nose: A good amount of fruit, lots citrus with a hints of passion fruit behind it.
Palate: Very light and even sour, the tartness hits you immediately. Still a lot of citrus with not as much passion fruit as I was hoping for. Pretty acidic on the finish from all the tropical fruit.
Overall: Much more sour then I was expecting, I’m a huge fan of Berliner Weiss and this is one of the mow sour ones I’ve had. Would have liked a little more fruit flavor but still another great offering from Evil Twin. It may be sour but is still super crushable. Pairs well honey ham, French fries or a raspberry cheesecake.
Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Out Of 5 Pints
The O’Fallon Brewery was founded by Fran and Tony Caradonna, in 2000. In January they ordered their brewing equipment and sold their first keg on May 6, 2000. The Caradonnas did all the brewing and selling for the first two years, brewing only one style (O’Fallon Gold), selling only kegs and delivering locally. Over the next several years they continued to grow their brands and distribution area. In May 2011 they sold the brewery to Jim Gorczyca, but Fran continues to play a part of day to day operations as the Brewery’s General Manager. Their Grape Escape is a Berliner Weisse brewed with red wine grapes.
ABV: 4.1% IBU’s: 5
Pour: Light, almost rose gold color.
Head: An off-white two finger head forms with mild carbonation, while the head dissipates quickly.
Nose: Light, notes of wheat mostly. Hints of grapes and tart fruits fill out the back.
Palate: Slightly tart but not aggressive, stays light all the way through. Minor grape notes but wheat is the dominant flavor. No acidity on the finish.
Overall: Much lighter than expected, and not as sour as other Berliner Weisses we’ve had recently. As a fan of sour beers, I love that breweries have been pumping out gose, Berliner weisses and many other types of sour ales. While this may not be beer for someone looking for a lip puckering gose, this would be great intro into the world of sour ales. A nice pairing with grilled peaches, spicy fish fillets or cheesecake.
Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Out Of 5 Pints
The Elysian was founded in 1995 by Dick Cantwell, Joe Bisacca, and David Buhler. Since its founding, Elysian is sold coast to coast and is a household name in the beer community. With a portfolio of over a dozen year-round, seasonal and specialty brews, chances are Elysian is brewing up something that you’ll love. Their spring seasonal is a pineapple habanero sour…a little bit of sweet and a little bit of heat.
The beer pours a hazy golden yellow color. The half finger white head shows decent retention. Once the head dissipates, a light and sporadic lacing remains a top the beer.
On the nose, aromas of sweet pineapple fruit and malts come through balanced by lacto sour notes. A grainy wheatiness is also notable along with earthy and yeasty aromas that enhance the sour aspect. The habanero is barely detectable on the nose.
On the palate yeasty sour notes hit right off the bat. While the flavor profile is similar to that of a traditional sour beer, you won’t find that same pucker in this brew. Notes of sweet tropical fruits dominated by pineapple come on the heels of the sour notes. The habanero is much more evident on the palate than the nose but is still rather subdue and mild. The heat is more of a tongue tingling mouthfeel than the flavor.
Elysian’s Pineapple Habanero Sour is a great way to welcome the spring months. An interesting brew that is actually fairly mild, well-balanced and easy to drink. Try pairing this one with some Pepper Jack, Grilled Halibut with pineapple salsa or Citrus Granita.
Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.0 Out Of 5 Pints
Victory Brewing Company opened its doors in 1996, and what once was a Pepperidge Farm factory became home to a 142-seat restaurant, 70-foot-long bar and a full-scale brewery. In its first year, Victory brewed 2500 barrels. Since then, they have increased the size of the restaurant to 300 seats, and the brewery produces 125,713 barrels of beer (2014). As loyal craft beer drinkers continue to show their dedication to flavorful, quality beer, Victory plans to continue its growth. One of their seasonal offerings is a Sour Brett Tripel fittingly named Sour Monkey.
The beer pours a slightly hazy light gold color. The one finger soapy white head shows decent retention. Once the head dissipates completely a light lacing remains a top the beer. The carbonation is notable with a steady stream of champagne like bubbles rising to the top of the glass.
Sour, yeasty and earthy aromas hit first and hit hard. Fruit notes of apple, white grape and citrus (namely lemon) come on the heels of the sour and yeasty aromas. Spice notes of pepper and clove mingle with the fruit notes. Aromas of pale malt and biscuits complete the profile.
On the palate sour and tannic elements are immediately followed by fruit notes of tart cherries, apples, lemon zest and white grapes. Pale malt and cereal like grainy notes follow the fruit wave. Funky Brett notes arrive next along with the spices from the bouquet including white pepper and clove. A pleasantly sour beer.
Victory delivers what it promises here – a sour beer, and a great “spin off” of Victory’s famous Golden Monkey. Try this one with chevre, steamed mussels or lemon curd and berry tartlets.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Out of 5 Pints