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Co-op Brew Corner: Puckering Up with Sours

Warmer weather and plenty of sunshine tell us it’s springtime in the Pacific Northwest. Why not celebrate our seasonal shift with something a little different? Embrace the re-birth of “sour ales” with new offerings from our Beer & Cider Department.

reubensgoseFrom Gose (pronounced gose-uh) to Kettle Sours to Wild fermented ales, a class of beer known as “sour” ale is re-emerging on today’s beer scene. These tart, mouth-puckering ales are often made with yeasts that produce tangy flavors.

Before the use of standardized yeast strains, all beer was made using wild yeasts that floated in the air. Before the popularization of pasteurization (via Louis Pasteur), bakers and brewers took their chances using wild microorganisms. Many sour or wild ales are brewed using the same principle: fermenting grains with unique and wild yeasts strains to produce different flavors. There are several styles of “sour” ale, including the Gose style that are brewed with lactobacillus (yes, that culture often used in yogurt) and sea salt, along with coriander and other spices. Often low in alcohol and bitterness, these refreshing brews are often mixed with hard cider or lemonade for a lively beer cocktail. Many recommend serving sour ales in tulip-shaped or fluted glassware to allow the brew to breathe and release its flavors.

Fans of sour style ales may look for world-famous “wild fermented” sour ales, such as Lindeman’s Lambic ales ($5.99 per 12 oz.) and New Belgium’s La Folie Sour Brown Ale ($14.99 per 22 oz). Try our local efforts and discover these featured sour ales from Northwest breweries, available at the Co-op while supplies last:

Gose Ale from Reubens Brews of Seattle, WA. 4.3% alcohol by volume / 6 IBUs. This German-style sour ale is brewed with sea salt, lactobacillus, and coriander. Lemon-y and crisp, Reubens Gose took home a gold medal award at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival. Enjoy this refreshing Gose ale with your favorite cheese, spicy greens salad, or cured meat. Reubens’ Gose is now on sale for $8.99 per 4pk; $2.49 per 12 oz can.

Blackberry Sour Ale – American Kettle Sour with Blackberry from Ninkasi Brewing of Eugene, OR. 5% alcohol by volume / 7 IBUs. Wow, this ale is one of the sourest I’ve ever encountered. As part of Ninkasi Brewing’s “Tart & Soul” Rare & Delicious series, this brew is bone dry, with a hint of Crystal hops and subtle earthy sweetness of Pacific Northwest-grown blackberries. The extreme sourness of this brew can be well paired with a semi-sweet sparkling hard cider, such as Tieton Cidery’s Ramblin’ Route ($9.99 per 16 oz cans) or Seattle Cider’s Gin Botanical seasonal cider ($7.49 per 22 oz). Ninkasi’s Blackberry Sour is now available for $8.49 per 22 oz.

By: Claire

ClaireClaire Harlock Garber loves to eat and drink and write about it. She has worked in the food industry for nearly a decade and was on staff at the Skagit Valley Co-op from 2010-2018, writing the regular columns Skagit Brew Corner, The Cheese Whisperer, The Bounty of Bulk, and What's Dippin' in the Well for the Co-op's blog, as well as articles for the Natural Enquirer newsletter.