Friday, July 23, 2010

Stone Sour Fest 2010

Let me tell you as soon as I heard about this event I went crazy. It is the largest sour beer festival in the world and its a 30 min drive from our house. And at $40 bucks for 15 - 3 oz tastes that is a great deal considering the actual money you would spend to taste these beers. Check out the website. I also have my program that shows all the beers. (80-90 beers and 50+ on draft)
I am fairly new to sour beers. I actually have a nice story how I learned about them.
TANGENT It was an overcast day as it usually is in Bruges, Belgium. My then fiance and I were riding bikes from the city center on a mission to make it to the ocean. We made a few stops along the way and of course I never brought a map. I thought it was only about an hour ride or less to get there. (Ok while riding this it just occured to me to look it up. map. We were so close, if only I brought a map. And I even just found the place we ate on the map. And looking through pictures I found the place. ( De Palingpot )) So I was on a mission to order new beers while I was there and I had never heard of Rodenbach at the time. So I went for it. And talk about thrist quenching after a bike ride. I flipped out, I had never tasted anything like that before. I finished that glass in no time and it paired so well with the nice hot fries and mayo we were eating. It is one of my favorite memories from the trip and all because of that beer.
The reason for the above story is to preface that I am pretty new to sour beers. And I am also learning a lot about tasting beers. I plan next year to start my BJCP classes. I have read books and tried to learn how to taste beers. I can do pretty well when I open a bottle at home and really take my time with it. But a festival to me, is a completely different animal. I have a difficulty really searching for different flavors so I basically just get a nice overall impression of the beer. The beer has 3 oz to tell me to search this beer out and buy it, so I can enjoy it more thoroughly.
Another quick note that I learned at this festival is that for this style of beer (and most) other people's opinions don't mean that I'll like the beer. I tried some very big "celebrity" beers and they weren't my favorite. For example, the beer I was very excited about and have debated buying a $60 bottle of, was just a blast in the face and was too much for me. I'm talking about Cuvee de Tomme, I could tell it was excellently made and had all the flavors that people talk about. And it was super complex and each flavor had its own time to shine on your tongue. But for me, I would love it if it was a 6-7% beer but at 12% it's harsh on my taste buds.
So for me the beers that stood out:
The Bruery Melange #7 - The after taste of this beer is what won me over, it had the most amazing oak complexity and filled your mouth with coconut and vanilla for a while after drinking. Description: Cuvee Jeune, our young lambic (now older) and blends it with a special beer we made with Pinot Noir Grapes. Similar to White Zin.
New Belgium Tart Lychee - Talk about refreshing, this was tasted mid-day when it was pushing 90 degrees and it hit the spot. Description: Three year wild (oak barrel acidified with souring bacteria and Brett) beer blended with lychee and Ceylon cinnamon.
Other Notable Favorites of the day were : Veritas 007(amazing sour complexity), Avery Alter Boy (great Brett flavors), New Belgium Love (Both the dry-hopped and spiced versions blew me away, new tastes with sour), Birra del Borgo Duchessic (Cantillion gueze blended with a blond, pretty much the ultimate lawn mower beer)

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