Christopher Osburn

10 Best Sour Beers To Crack Into | Man of Many


Best Sour Beers

While you could spend half the day walking the aisles at your local beer store or perusing online retailers looking for proverbial sour, tart diamonds in the rough, we did the work for you. We picked 10 of our favourite funky, tart, sweet, highly drinkable sour beers. Keep scrolling to see them all and finally quench that seemingly unquenchable beer thirst.

1. Almanac Peach Sournova

This 5.8 per cent ABV sour ale from the folks at California’s Almanac Beer is aged in oak barrels with peaches and vanilla beans. Unlike many popular sour beers, this one isn’t a kettle sour. It’s a naturally fermented, mixed-culture sour ale that spends months aging with vanilla beans and California-grown peaches. The result is a tart, sweet, juicy, lightly acidic beer you’ll want to go back to again and again.

2. The Grifter Brewing Co Pink Galah Lemonade Sour

We love a frosty beer on a hot day and we also enjoy a glass of tart, refreshing lemonade. Who wouldn’t want to enjoy the two together, right? Well, the brewers at The Grifter Brewing Co. realised this and created their Pink Galah Lemonade Sour. It’s a pink lemonade sour that gets a secondary fermentation with raspberries and lemon juice. This results in a berry-filled, tart, citrus, acidic beer you’ll crave every sunny day.

3. Bentspoke Brewing Co How’s It Gosen

This humorously named Gose-style beer comes from the brewers at Bentspoke. This 4 per cent ABV, highly sessionable Gose was first brewed as a tropical Gose with mango and passionfruit, while the current version is made with real cherries. It’s sour, lightly salty, and has the flavour of sweet cherries. It gets this flavour profile from souring using Bentspoke’s proprietary lactic acid.

4. Wayward Brewing Co. Raspberry Berliner Weisse

Another sessionable number, the 3.8 per cent ABV Berliner Weisse was once referred to by the moniker of “Sourpuss”. We’re glad they changed the name because this classic take on the German style is known for its ripe raspberry flavours working in unison with tart acid, all with a nice, sweet, crisp finish. It’s raspberry perfection in every sip.

5. Batch Brewing Co. Pash The Magic Dragon

We all know Puff the Magic Dragon, but who knows Pash the Magic Dragon? Well, everyone should. Flaked wheat, barley, lactic acid-filled sour wort, passionfruit, and (not surprisingly) dragon fruit make this a tart, sweet, funky, acidic beer worthy of you or any gigantic, fire-breathing reptiles in your life.

6. Young Henrys B-Side Sun Is Shining Sour

This 4 per cent ABV sour beer from Young Henry’s was brewed with Gladfield Lager Light, Gladfield Wheat malt, and Gladfield Chit malt, as well as Flex, Sorachi Ace, and Sabro hops. It gets its sweet, fruity, tart flavour from the use of “Philly Sour Yeast strain” as well as watermelon and Mandarin oranges. It’s a lightly bitter, crisp, refreshingly tart beer perfect for any time of year.

7. Bellwoods Jelly King Raspberry & Peach

This 5.6 per cent sour ale from Canadian brewers Bellwoods is touted as a dry-hopped sour ale with fruit. Brewed with both raspberries and peaches and fermented with lactic acid, this beer is a mixture of tart, sour fruit, and bright hops. This limited-edition offering is truly a unique sour beer that needs to be tasted to be believed.

8. Rodenbach Grand Cru

No list of sour beers is complete without Rodenbach. Specifically, Rodenback Grand Cru. This 7 per cent ABV Belgian classic is a blend of a Flanders red ale. One-third of the beer is young and the other two-thirds was matured for a minimum of two years in large oak vats. The result is a funky, tart, lightly acidic, fruity, sparkling wine-like beer you’ll want to save for a special occasion, but you’ll likely crack open and drink with your mates instead.

9. Yulli’s Bloody Mary Sour

Sure, the most common flavours associated with sour beers are a variety of fruits, but this beer is a sour take on the classic hangover cure. Yulli’s Bloody Mary is a sour ale that tastes like a bloody Mary thanks to the addition of chillis, hot sauce, and tomato juice. It’s sour, sweet, and perfect for breakfast (if you’re into that sort of thing).

10. Freshwater Stay Salty Passionfruit Gose

This salty, sweet, tart, highly sessional 3.5 per cent Gose-style beer is part of the brewery’s fresh fruit series. This version gets its tropical fruit flavour from the addition of passionfruit. The result is a sweet, memorable passionfruit flavour as well as a light tartness and a clean, crisp, dry finish.
In the most basic terms, a sour beer is exactly as it seems. It’s a beer that has a tart, often times sour flavour profile. It’s crafted to be acidic and sometimes has an earthy, funky flavour as well. While many contemporary beers are simply listed as “sour beers” or “sour ales”, traditional sours include Flanders red ales, Gose-style beers, Berliner weisses, lambics, and gueuzes.

What is a Sour Beer?

Obviously, with so many different styles and production methods, it’s difficult to pin down a specific way of brewing a sour beer. But generally, you can count on the process beginning with complimentary hops being added to the kettle boil. After cooling, the wort is ready for the secondary fermentation where yeast and live bacteria will be added. When and how the bacteria is added also depends on the style of sour beer. Some beer is now aged in wood barrels or vats.

How is a Sour Made?

As mentioned above, the sour flavour comes from various yeasts and wild bacteria. This is what creates the iconic sour, tart, acidic, biting flavour profile sour beer drinkers look forward to. The most common bacteria is Lactobacillus. This gives the beer the lactic acid taste. Other bacteria include (but aren’t limited to) Brettanomyces, Pediococcus, and Saccharomyces. The best part? These microbes might actually be good for your gut health. You can finally tell your doctor (and though they probably won’t believe you) that you’re drinking for your health.

What Makes a Beer Sour?

If the funky, often tart flavours of sour beers haven’t piqued your interest, why not check out our coverage on the other exciting types of beer.

Alternatives to Sour Beers

With more than 10 years of experience reviewing beer, wine and spirits, Man of Many’s team of editors has selected a list of the best sour beers across the country. The list puts quality over quantity, with menus filled with Berliners, Weisses, Raspberry and Watermelon sour flavours. Additionally, author Christopher Osburn has more than 15 years of experience writing about alcohol and lifestyle topics across the globe. As our resident drinks expert, Chris is the perfect person to unpack these fruity flavours.

How We Chose the Best Sour Beers

Best Beers According to Strength

More Beer Choices

What is a sour beer?

Sour beers are tart, sour, acidic, sometimes funky beers made by fermentation with yeast and wild bacteria. It’s a beer style that has many subsets including Flanders red ales, Gose-style beers, Berliner weisses, lambics, gueuzes, as well as simple “sour beers”. To add another dimension, sour beers are often brewed with various fruits like passionfruit, mango, guava, raspberries, peaches, and citrus fruits.

How are sour beers made?

Sour beers are made by fermentation with yeast and wild bacteria. There’s a lot more to it and the process changes based on the particular style, but this is the basic, simplistic process. It gives it the sometimes funk, always acidic, tart, sour flavour fans of this style relish.

What food pairs well with Sour Beer?

Like a sparkling wine, sour beers are the perfect complement to many foods. Strong, flavourful cheese like extra sharp cheddar, goat, cheese, blue cheese, and gorgonzola pair well. Seafood, particularly clams, oysters, and other mollusks make flavourful accompaniments. Creamy, cheesy dishes, and cured meats like ham and bacon also work well with sour beers. All in all, if your food has a strong, maybe even stinky flavour, it probably pairs well with at least some version of sour beer.

Sour Beer FAQs

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