One of my favorite pizza places in the world is in Door County, Wisconsin. An unlikely place, yes, but there it is, after three visits it continues to impress. This sour ale was in their beer list and each time I went, I eyed it with interest but felt like it was never the just-right accompaniment to my slice of pizza pie.
So, when I saw it one the shelf at the local grocer, I snagged it up without second thought. As in most be tastings, I went first to the appearance of the brew. If that wasn’t the natural order of things, however, my eye would have automatically done the same. There were chunks floating in my beer. Now I have been no stranger to sediment, enjoying even the most hazy of Belgian ales, but is one had me a bit scared off. I couldn’t help but think I might be chewing this one down. The head was major fizz, it burst and popped and bubbled like an exploding can of soda, but soon lost steam and disappeared. The bulk of the body was a light, translucent brown that edged into an intriguing red in the sunlight. It smelled like earth and must and sour, but the blend brought me to the unlikely conclusion that it pleased my senses, instead of disgusting them. There was just a faint hint of maltiness, bringing me back to the fact that this was indeed a beer.
The first sip was sour, but tempered, not excessive. It had just enough tang to be interesting, without being over the top or puckering. I couldn’t help but taste the chunks of yeast and sediment, which, unfortunately, made my drinking experience less than relaxing. The mouthfeel was nothing special, not too thin though, a good balance. The overall taste was not complex; there were notes of green apple and raisins though, which gave it a few layers of interest.
If I could more peacefully sip this beer, less focused on the chunks and more on the flavor, I think I would have enjoyed it even more. As it was, it was definitely worth a sampling and if the mood struck again, I would remember it fondly and pick up another bottle without second thought.