At first blush, sour/wild ales brewed with fruit may seem like an odd beer choice in November, but the deluge of fruited sours on the shelves, along with the nippy autumn temps across most of the U.S., makes us pine for shorts-and-hammock season. Sip on one of these six beers and try to forget spring is still four long months away.
Schlafly The Eleventh Labor: Part of the Saint Louis Brewery’s Ibex Series, this Berliner weiss brewed with apricots percolates with fresh, juicy fruitiness that syncs well with the tart lactic acid. It drinks fairly big for a 4.2%-ABV wheat beer.
Wicked Weed Montmaretto: Nuttiness (courtesy of almonds joining a portion of this blended sour ale in the barrels) keeps the sweet fragrance of cherries (a pound per gallon during secondary fermentation) in check. Sweet-and-sour cherry flavor springs rapidly before a vanilla-almond blend near the dry, woody finish grants the beer its reserved amaretto mimicry.
Odell Friek: It’s hard to find better equilibrium between sweet and tart than this well-regarded lambic-style ale provides with its combo of cherries and raspberries. Oaky roundness—reminiscent of Chardonnay—supports the fruity pair’s bright, juicy flavors swimming in the fetching bright copper pour with garnet highlights.
Ranger Creek Small Batch No. 11: Scents of bubblegum, lactic acid and fleshy stone fruit drift up atop an oak-filled backbone from the blended sour ale from San Antonio’s Ranger Creek. A late addition of more than 25 pounds of fresh apricots into the barrels lends a juicy citrus flavor that’s more restrained than the aroma, along with sharp tartness and a great deal of wood at the back end.
Funkwerks Raspberry Provincial: A clean bouquet of ripe raspberries and blooming flowers beckons a sip, which offers simple berry that comes and goes before ending in pleasant dryness. Soft carbonation and just enough tartness make this 4.2%-ABV sour quite accessible for budding palates.
Epic Sour Brainless on Peaches: Heavy barnyard funk paces the aroma spiked with pilsner-like crispy malt tones and traces of acidic lemon juice. White peach flavor sits beneath sharp tartness in the sour ale aged for 18 months in oak.