Monday, October 15, 2012

Beer Tourism

A while ago Saveur posted this article on beer tourism to Belgium, and I wanted to cry with envy of this bastard living literally my dream of sampling the funk from the source as it where.  The US is slowly developing it's own sour beer tradition, and New Belgium brewing is putting a strong stake in that territory with their Lips of Faith series of collaborative brews marking some of the most interesting and funky generally available sour beers I know of.   Certainly one would argue there is the import section of the bottleworks places in my area for trying some strange brews, at truly they would be right, but for whatever reason the Pacific Northwest has decided that the trail to beer nirvana lies through IPA infested waters.  Round these parts hops are king, and so many of the people I talk to about beer just rave about how they're a hop head and love the IPA's.  I ask about funk brett beers, lambic's and gueuze's and I get blank stares.  Not even a Flemish Red I lament?  Open up your palette's people because this is a damn party, it doesn't need to be 190IBU of Magnum hops to be an enjoyable beer damn it!  In the heat I find IPA's oppressive, and look for pales, or better a saison for some lightness to the day.

It blows my mind that people relish funky cheese, brag about the blue cheese that smell like someone's old jock strap, but any of those notes in a beer and their raging hard on for funk wilts.  With that in mind I went looking for the Great North American Sour Brewery and found in my neck of the woods The Cascade Brewing Barrel House.  Located in Portland they have beers that move with the seasons, and they aren't afraid to get funky.  The beers link opens the "Beer Menu" and right now they are pouring 8 sour beers, but a short 4 hours away from me.  I bide my time, and read the Mad Fermentationist for moral support while my sours work on maturing.

Right now I have a 8ish month old Sour Raspberry Pale ale on Wyeasts Lambic Blend, a 1 year old Vanilla Bourbon Strong Porter that has been on Wyeast's Brett Blend for the last 3 months, and the Second runnings of my Oatmeal Stout sitting on The same Brett Blend for the last 3 months.  I broke out a 16oz of the Sour Raspberry for Seafair this year and it was so perfect for the summer, light and bubbly enough you would think it was champagne, with a light funk bite and crisp.  This is the hallmark of excellent sour beers, the funk doesn't linger.  It's the tiniest hint, the impression of that flavor and it's gone as soon as you swallow it; leaving your palette begging for more.

1 comment:

  1. I'm trying to approach alcohol in the same mentality that you do. Unfortunately, I can't handle alcohol as well as others so I have to be selective in what I taste.