Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Moon Juice Kettle Sour

I love sour beers. The love of sour beers is polarizing in my opinion, you either love or hate. There is no middle ground. I feel this is the same for many culinary delights. Other examples include asparagus, sushi and cilantro. Let it be known; I do not like cilantro. Back to sour beers; I love sour beers. Luckily they do not contain cilantro.
Many fresh agricultural products are paired with bacteria or yeasts that will help ferment them. Grapes are covered in wine producing yeasts, ditto for apples. Barley is covered in Lactobacillus, which if whetted will lead to lactic acid fermentation. Normally wort is boiled to kill off these bacteria so the Saccharomyces yeast can ferment without competition. One exception is kettle souring. This brewing technique gives lactic acid bacteria a head start to produce the desired levels of sourness and attenuation. Once the desired level of sourness is achieved, the wort is boiled to halt the souring process and traditional fermentation proceeds as normal. Or in the case of the Berliner Weisse, the souring process if allowed to run its full course. Think of this as a lambic without atmospheric influence. Brewers might pitch a Lactobacillus culture to speed things along or produce a desired flavour.
Which leads us to the current trend of kettle souring. Many craft breweries are attempting one. Axe and Barrel makes a very nice spruce tip kettle sour.
Moon Juice Kettle Sour = 8/10

The nose is similar to lactic acid fermeneted beverages, think Kefir or yogurt. It also carries a hint of pine and oranges. A pleasant acidic tingle and oddly thick mouthfeel delivers all the sourness. Some felt it was a bit sweet, but I like a sweet beer. There was an equal part cereal, citrus and breadiness mixed together with an approachable yogurt like tartness. If you like your sours, this will make you happy. Sadly due to my lazy attitude this beer is already sold out. However, the Moon's Facebook page mentions another kettle sour release.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 (none mentioned but extra marks for deliciousness)
Value +1
Appearance +1

Glassware: Something small. I big glass of this sour might be hard to go through.

Food Pairings: This might be interesting contrast with a sweet dish, perhaps corn chowder. A good pairing would be an arugula salad with tart, salty feta or lightly acidic young goat cheese.

Cellar: I might try cellaring a growler of sour one day.

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