What are Sour Beers?


If you’ve heard about sour beers. Know that, no, this is no beer gone bad. Sour beer styles have been around for centuries, and they have gained popularity recently for their complex scents, refreshing palate and wild character.

Let’s talk about sour beers and why you should try them. If you enjoy beer, you’ll love the style, and even if you’re not all that into beer, this category will surely captivate you. Even wine lovers end up loving sour beers — the style is remarkably similar to some types of wine! Let’s explore this exciting category and give sour beers the recognition they deserve.

What are Sour Beers?

Most beers on the market are not sour. They can be hoppy or malty, light-bodied or robust, but beer is never acidic or tart. That’s too bad because acidity makes beverages like wine compatible with food. Acidity also makes drinks more refreshing and thirst-quenching — think of lemonade —.

Sour beers, or better said, sour ales, are nothing new. They have been around for thousands of years and were perfected in Europe in the Middle Ages. What makes these beers sour is the yeast used to make them. Instead of regular beer-making yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae (responsible for wine and bread, too), sour beers are transformed by wild yeast. Microorganisms in the ambient are accountable for these beers, including a wide range of yeast and bacteria. Some make the beer taste sour, while others can give it a funky scent.

Types of Sour Beers

Traditional European sour beers, now replicated worldwide, include the Berliner Weisse, Flanders Red Ale, Oud Bruin, Lambic, Gueuze, Fruit Lambic and Gose. Don’t let the uncommon names confuse you. These beers offer a fantastic range of tart beers. Some are fruity and others funky; some are rich and bold, while others are very approachable.

Sour beers, though, are never too bitter. The styles rely on acidity to balance the beer instead of the hop’s signature bitterness. Of course, you’ll have to try the different types to understand what they’re all about, but every sour beer guarantees an extraordinary tasting experience, so be prepared to be surprised.

Pair Sour Beers with Food

Not all sour beers are created equal, but they all have acidity in common. Tartness makes beer compatible with a wide range of food, which is why wine is the perfect partner at the table — it’s tart.

Well, sour beers can be as reliable at dinner as wine. Where to find sour beers? The most popular sour beers originated in Belgium, so you’ll find many Belgian alternatives on the market. Of course, sour ales have become so popular that every other brewery worldwide now produces at least one sour beer style. Lambic and Gose are the most common styles, so look for those terms in the labels.

Have You Tried Sour Beers?

Sour beers can indeed be life-changing. If you’re into beer, these will blow your mind. If you don’t like beer, there’s a big chance you’ll fall in love with the category. Sour beer is that good, and it’s becoming more popular! Try sour beer and see if it is for you!