U.S. brewers are putting new spins on these classic wild styles.
Crooked Stave Pure Guava Petite Sour
Chad Yakobson, who pioneered the sour ale program at Odell, broke out on his own with his new venture, Crooked Stave, and this slightly sour farmhouse-style ale packed with juicy guava notes derived from Brettanomyces yeast.
Sodibo showcases lambic-strength sourness and elegant fruit flavors in an uncharacteristically finessed wild ale. As tart, acidic lemon notes wrestle the tongue, refined threads of juicy orange and faint raspberry offer sweet respite from this beer’s firm grip.
New Belgium Clutch
This collaboration between New Belgium brewer Eric Salazar and the Maryland band Clutch blends a stout’s dark roast and chocolate with a wild ale’s tart bite. The result’s a resurrection of the roasted, slightly sour barrel-aged ales of 18th-century England.
Anchorage Whiteout Wit
Whiteout Wit’s a new spin on the classic Belgian witbier: This 100-percent Brettanomyces beer joins barnyard funk, fresh oak notes and tart lemon with the style’s traditional herbal spice and wheaty bite.
Allagash Coolship Red
Allagash just introduced a line of spontaneously fermented beers brewed using its koelschip (an open-air fermenting space where wort is cooled and introduced to wild yeast, originated around Brussels). Red, aged with raspberries, exudes light raspberry flavors and a sour, funky bite.
Cisco Winter Woods
A classic winter warmer takes a turn inside the barrel: Brewed with local honey, Pinot Noir grapes, mulling spices and cherrywood-smoked malt, then aged in French oak barrels, this beer delivers warmth in a glass with tingling sourness.
Cascade Sang Noir
Cascade revamps the Pacific Northwest-style red ale by aging it in Pinot and whiskey barrels for more than a year, then infusing it with Bing cherries; the beer melds sweet cherry, grape and subtle chocolate notes with powerful tartness and smooth oak.
New Glarus Cran-Bic
Brewer Daniel Carey rests this lambic with cranberries, an uncommon beer ingredient, outside in oak barrels for five months; the tart berry fuses with the rustic beer’s sour bite for a refreshingly fruity, limited-edition beer that’s a sessionable 4.8% ABV.
Ithaca Excelsior! Le Bleu
Each year, Ithaca blends and bottles different barrel-aged versions of this Brett beer, which is spiked with a fruit rarely seen in sours: blueberries. Each bottle gets a dose of Champagne yeast for added effervescence.
The Bruery Sour in the Rye
The Bruery employs the often overlooked rye malt for a brew that washes over the tongue with vinous notes, sweet malts and a combination of sour funk and spicy rye that keeps the 8.7%-ABV beer in check.
WILD ALES: Originally from Belgium, these beers are brewed with wild microorganisms, most notably Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus and Pediococcus, which impart sourness and barnyard flavors.