The 3rd Annual Avery Brewing Company SourFest was held at their Boulder brewery on Saturday, June 2nd. Easily one of the most sought-after beer festivals in the state, SourFest sold out their tickets in under 2 minutes. A large part of this festival's success can be tied to the cult-like following of sour and wild ales in the United States. These beers are typically inoculated with Brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and/or pediococcus.
This year, 27 breweries from across the country came to pour 59 different sour and funky beers. Intensities ranged from the slightly tart Berliner Weiss to the mouth-puckering Lambics made famous in Belgian brewing tradition. Everyone seemed to find different beers to fall in love with, but here are a few of our favorites.
Best of the Bunch
Avery Brewing Company Bolder Weiss (5.6%) Bolder Weiss walks a fine line between tart and sour while providing a slightly funky aroma and beautiful fruity flavors. Available in the tap room until it runs out, try this beer with any of the optional fruit syrups (as is typically done with traditional Berliner Weiss beers).
Crooked Stave Persica Wild Wild Brett (7.5%) Crooked Stave is rapidly becoming one of the hottest sour beer producers in the country and they came to play with a new beer. Persica may have smelled like feet after they'd run through a field of flowers (thanks to the Brettanomyces), but the taste was clean and loaded with fresh peaches.
Cascade Brewing Company The Vine (9.7%) Even at 9.7%, The Vine was not as aggressive as some of Cascade's other offerings that day. A blend of soured Triple, Belgian Quad, and Golden Ale fermented with the fresh pressings of white grapes—this beer was tart and vinous without going over the top.
Upland Brewing Company Sour Reserve Blend #2 (5.0%) Another brewery that's been gaining significant traction in the world of sours is Upland Brewing Company of Indiana, who brought their Sour Reserve and Raspberry Lambic. Sour Reserve, a Geueze, is created by blending batches of their own unfruited lambic. The flavor started more tart than sour, but steadily built as you sipped.
Cambridge Brewing Company Ozymandius (15.0%) Cambridge's 23rd Anniversary beer was as sour as it was dark. This palate-bruiser hit us with wave after wave of dark fruit, vanilla, and red wine.
About the Author: Sean Buchan covers the Denver craft beer scene for Denver off the Wagon in addition to doing freelance photography for Colorado breweries. You can view his beer photography here, follow him on Facebook or on Twitter at @Beertographer.