A Beer Review
Style: Sour Blonde Ale
Brewer: O’so Brewing Company Plover, WI
Alcohol by Volume: 4.5%
Price Point: $8.99 / six-pack of 12 oz. bottles at area beverage retailers
Appearance: Bright, honey yellow with gold and amber highlights. As many sours tend to do, this pours more like a champagne than a beer and shows an effusive and playful sparkle. It raises a brief fizzy white head of tiny uniform bubbles that descend within the first minute. The generous carbonation continues in steady streams of tiny pinhead bubbles from the first sip to the last.
Aroma: Upon pouring you’re immediately hit with bright citrusy notes of tangerine and dried apricot followed by hints of white grape and lemon zest. As it continues to warm and the glass volume opens up, so does the aroma, and you begin to pick up golden raisins and faint traces of earthy rhubarb and a distant funky fruity note of…sourdough?
Taste: Ping! The sour hits you right out of glass. Not an all-out assault like many sours, but clean, bright and just enough tartness to make your eyes open wide. Nice lemony acidity plays on the sides of the tongue and fills the mouth.
After the first few sips, as your buds adjust, you begin to pick up a little bit of dryness of crabapples and the softer, more subtle acidity of lactic acid. Think of something between the coating on sour gummi candies and the funky acidity of plain yogurt and you’re in the right neighborhood. There is a brief but final palate cleansing touch of hop bitterness, but it is truly understated when compared to the sweet-tart character.
Presence: Light and effervescent, delicate and bubbly. It’s challenging to get a good sense of the body beyond the tartness and the pop. The finish is dry, finite and clean with just a hint of lemon oil and grapefruit right at the end.
X factor: Approachably sour. There are no training wheels for sour beers, and despite their popularity among craft beer fans in recent years, they have yet to catch on with the mass appeal that they deserve. But this balanced interpretation will surprise and please both the novice and the veteran in its subtle funkiness, bright and complex citrusy aromas and flavors and clean, tart finish.
A similar style originating from Germany, the Berliner Weisse, was called the “Champagne of the North” by Napoleon’s troops for its similarities to their familiar quaff and this beer equally earns the title “Champagne of the Northwoods” for its distinctive sparkle, its sweet-tart charm and its jubilance.
Pour a couple of these into flutes, cylinders or tulip glasses, and raise them up in a toast to your sweetheart.
Til then, Cheers! ~A.J.