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Sour beer has risen in popularity over the years, captivating the taste buds and imaginations of beer enthusiasts worldwide. With its distinct tangy and acidic flavors, sour beer offers a refreshing departure from traditional beer styles, enticing both the adventurous and the seasoned palates. The appeal of these brews lies in their complexity and versatility, as they can exhibit a wide range of flavors, from fruity and funky to tart and earthy. The unique brewing process involving wild yeasts and bacteria sets it apart, resulting in a vibrant and intriguing beverage that continually surprises and delights those who appreciate the artistry of brewing. We have compiled this list of the five best sour beers based on the consensus among 11 experts. Let us know if we missed your favorite tangy brew in the comments!

The List: Best Sour Beer, According to Experts

1. Dogfish Head SeaQuench Ale

Dogfish Head SeaQuench Ale is a sea of flavor. That’s thanks to its mishmash of three classic styles that come together to create a sour beer that’s as unique as a three-headed sea monster.

Craving a beer that’s as refreshing as a plunge in the ocean? Look no further than Dogfish Head’s SeaQuench Ale. This innovative brew has won over Hop Culture magazine for its unique mash-up of styles. Imagine a crisp Kölsch, a tart Berliner Weisse, and a salty Gose all coming together in perfect harmony. But Dogfish Head doesn’t stop there. They kicked things up a notch with black limes, tangy lime juice, and a touch of sea salt, making SeaQuench a true summer standout.

While some sours go heavy on the pucker factor, SeaQuench offers a delightful balance. Restaurant Clicks describes it as the “more is more” approach to sour beers, but fear not, it doesn’t veer into sugary territory. Think of it as a margarita minus the syrupy sweetness, perfect for beating the heat.

But what truly sets SeaQuench apart is its complexity. Men’s Journal likes the interplay between the crispness of the Kölsch, the salinity of the Gose, and the tang of the Berliner Weisse. Throw in the unique notes, and you have a beer that’s anything but boring. It’s a testament to Dogfish Head’s dedication to experimentation, resulting in a truly thirst-quenching and unforgettable summer sipper.

2. Cantillon Fou’ Foune 

One sip of Fou’ Foune and you’ll be transported to the French countryside with fields of apricot trees. The aroma is so sweet, it’ll make you want to shout “Vive la France!” French accent not included.

For serious sour aficionados, there’s one name that consistently tops the charts: Cantillon. Homebrew Academy hails them as the “gold standard” of sour beers, and with good reason. Founded in 1900, Cantillon boasts a rich history and a dedication to authentic lambic brewing. Their Fou’ Foune is a testament to this tradition.

Imagine this: a lambic, that funky, tart Belgian masterpiece, infused with the juicy sweetness of fresh apricots. That’s the magic of Fou’ Foune. BisonBrew describes the brewing process – a few weeks of fermentation where the fruit and lambic mingle, creating a symphony of flavors. The result? A beer that’s both refreshingly tart and bursting with apricot goodness.

But Fou’ Foune is more than just a fruity delight. Beneath the surface lies a world of complexity. Layers of “funk” (think barnyard or hay-like notes), a pleasant acidity, and subtle malt character all come together in perfect harmony. The snappy carbonation adds a touch of effervescence, making each sip a truly unforgettable experience. No wonder it’s a constant source of inspiration for sour brewers around the globe!

Finding a bottle of Cantillon can be a challenge, but for those lucky enough to snag one, Fou’ Foune promises a taste of brewing history and a truly unique sour adventure.

3. Allagash Coolship Resurgam 

This wild ale is made using a brewing method that involves cooling the beer in an open-air tank called a coolship, which basically looks like a giant kiddie pool for grown-ups. Fun fact: “Resurgam” means “I shall rise again” in Latin. 

For adventurous beer lovers, Allagash Brewing’s Coolship Resurgam is a must-try. Renegade Brewing calls it a “reward worth waiting for,” and it’s easy to see why. This Belgian-style gueuze takes its time, undergoing a fascinating transformation that results in a truly unique brew.

The process is like a brewing odyssey. Imagine the wort, the pre-fermentation beer, cooling overnight in a massive shallow pan called a coolship. During this open-air slumber, wild yeasts from the Maine atmosphere dance their way into the beer, infusing it with their unique character. Then, it’s off to French oak barrels for fermentation and aging. But the story doesn’t end there. Allagash blends one, two, and three-year-old batches, creating a tapestry of flavors that’s both complex and refreshing.

Liquor.com hails Allagash as a leader in American lambics brewed with traditional techniques, and the Coolship Resurgam is a shining example. It’s not just a beer; it’s an experience. Each sip promises a journey through time, showcasing the subtle nuances that different aging periods bring. So, if you’re looking for a beer that’s anything but ordinary, grab a bottle of Coolship Resurgam and embark on a flavor adventure unlike any other.

4. Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project Sour Rosé

This sour ale is like rosé’s edgier, cooler cousin. It’s got all the sophistication, but with a little bit of a wild (ale) side. This innovative brew from Denver is putting a funky spin on the classic pink drink, and according to The Spruce Eats, it’s quickly becoming a favorite among American sour beer makers.

So, what makes this Sour Rosé so special? Imagine a vibrant, unfiltered beer bursting with the juicy sweetness of raspberries and blueberries. But here’s the twist: this delightful fruitiness is balanced by a touch of “funk,” courtesy of Crooked Stave’s unique blend of souring bacteria and Brettanomyces yeast. The Spruce Eats describes it as “elegantly funky,” a perfect way to capture the delightful complexity of this brew.

Winning Beers knows this Sour Rosé is a game-changer for rosé lovers. The vibrant color might remind you of a summer picnic, but the taste offers a whole new adventure. With its delightful fizz and fruity tartness, it’s perfect for sipping on a hot day or even pairing with a delicious meal.

Be warned though, this unique brew comes with a slightly higher price tag. Winning Beers attributes this to its niche market appeal. But hey, sometimes a little indulgence is worth it, especially when it comes to a taste bud revolution like Crooked Stave’s Sour Rosé!

5. New Belgium La Folie

With its funky aroma and sharp acidity, La Folie is like a rollercoaster for your taste buds. It’ll take you on a wild ride of flavors as it swirls around your mouth like a tornado. Make sure to fasten your metaphorical harness!

New Belgium’s La Folie isn’t your average beer. Advanced Mixology describes it as a “sour brown masterpiece,” aged for one to three years in sprawling oak barrels called foeders. Imagine the slow, deliberate transformation that takes place within these wooden casks. The beer absorbs the subtle flavors of the oak, while wild yeasts and bacteria weave their magic, resulting in a symphony of tart and complex notes.

The first sip is a revelation. A wave of sharp acidity washes over your palate, laced with hints of green apple, tart cherry, and even a whisper of plum peel. But La Folie isn’t all about the pucker factor. As Brew Publik mentions, a surprising richness emerges – whispers of chocolate and vanilla peek through the sourness, creating a delightful counterpoint. The body is smooth and medium-weight, making each sip a luxurious experience.

While La Folie might clock in at a slightly higher carb count (seven grams per 12 ounces), it remains a relatively low-carb option for the sour beer world. But trust us, the flavor payoff is more than worth it. This is a beer for savoring, for letting the complex layers unfold on your tongue. So, if you’re looking for a sour adventure that goes beyond the ordinary, grab a bottle of La Folie and prepare to be surprised.

Be prepared for the unexpected when you drink the best sour beer, or one of your favorites! What’s on your sour beer menu at home? Let us know in the comments. 

Sources:

Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.  

About Stephanie Vallette

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2 Comments

  1. Chris Sterbenc says:

    Almanac brewery in Alameda, California produces a whole suite of amazing sours. The Sournova series is really really good.

  2. BTE says:

    The fact that La Folie is not number 1 is a travesty. Also, how did nothing from WeldWerks make this list?