11 Beers to Drink and Enjoy for the Brewski Newbie

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Troy Casey brewer for A.C. Golden holds the cherry sour beer from of the Hidden Barrel Collection at the Coors plant in Golden on Friday, March 2, 2012. Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post (Photo By Cyrus McCrimmon/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

3.) Sours

Ready to get weird? You’ve already read about lactobacillus here and there, but this is where that bacteria really gets to shine. If the sour notes you get from a gose or a lambic really piqued your interest, then it’s time to try sour beers.

Technically, sour beers can be found in other styles, like wheat beers and red ales. I’ve even had a sour porter here and there. However, I’m classifying this as its own style because of the effort and risk involved in making it, and because it’s one of my favorite kinds of beer out there. Yes, I’m biased. Get over it.

At one point in time, all beers were at least a little sour. That’s thanks to wild yeast. Before brewers started cultivating their own yeast, they had to rely on wild spores floating through their environment to populate their brews. This is an unpredictable process that can make modern brewers nervous – it’s easy to tip over from perfectly sour to unacceptably funky, especially when you’re dealing with wild yeast.

Still, there are some breweries today that are bravely using wild yeast. Others rely on carefully introducing bacteria like lactobacillus, Brettanomyces, and Pediococcus into their tanks. Sometimes, fruit can also be added to intentionally tart up a beer. One of the oldest breweries that still makes sour beers is the Rodenbach Brewery in Belgium, which started brewing  in 1836.

Since sours take extra effort, they are often produced in small batches and may cost a little extra. I would argue that it’s well worth the money.

Sours to try: