Thursday, December 16, 2010

Review: Steamworks sour brown ale

Durango has three new beers on tap just this week, and each is very different. (More on the other two later).

Steamworks Brewing Co. just tapped a sour brown ale brewed with Brettanomyces yeast. More and more brewers have been getting into weird souring yeasts, an encouraging and tasty trend.

It's a big, boozy beer, and as such it's served in a small goblet, which will run you about $5. (It's nice, actually, to see good beers served in glassware other than the ubiquitous shaker pint).

This one pours a fairly dark brown, with a modest off-white head of foam. As with many Brett beers, a fizzy, carbonated texture lingers.

The taste suggests apples and fall. Brett beers are endlessly fascinating — not only are they starkly different from each other, but they change dramatically over time. This one is already fairly tart, so it should be quite sour in a few months (if Steamworks has any left by then).

Steamworks' sour brown puckers. It wraps your tongue in sourness, with an almost soda-like fizz. Sour heads (a somewhat rarer breed than hop heads) should enjoy it. It's not a beer for the craft-appreciating novice, but it's good, and very interesting.

Some are already pronouncing the sour trend played out. Personally, I love the astonishing variety seen from one sour beer to another, and I wish there were more. Give this one a B, with appreciation for the extra time and expense that goes into brewing with Brett.

Also new are Steamworks' aggressive Elephant Rider IPA and Carver's Smoked Baltic Porter (interestingly, Pagosa Brewing also just tapped a Baltic porter). I'll have more on those later — after I drink them.

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