Once upon a time I used to drink more beer than wine. This was facilitated by my time in California several years ago where access to craft beer and microbrews far surpassed that in B.C. Our province has made great strides since that time and, though I drink far less beer now than in the past, I now have access to some of the best brews in the U.S. from time to time: a great sign for B.C.
The Bruery is in California’s upper echelon of most sought after breweries. Their special ales are renowned, rare and expensive. Much coveted in California, I never thought I’d see their likeness way up in Vancouver. So my excitement jumped when I saw these on the shelves of a local store.
Sour beers in particular are very hard to make well. It is not hard to make a beer sour, but it is one of the great challenges of a master brewer to make truly delicious sour beer that balances the funky yeasts (including bret), the intense sourness, acidity, and oak structure to make a beer that is, in the end, fundamentally delicious as much as challenging. I have encountered very few brewers who do it right. My favourites have included some of California’s top brewers such as Russian River and Lost Abbey. Based on this beer, The Bruery can join that list with pride.
Unlike most sours, this beer is actually balanced. It does not let its funky yeasts get out of control and it does not lose sight of drinkability. However, it is also not dumbed down, sweetened or pimped up with easy to recognize flavour. Rather, The Bruery has allowed deft use of oak aging to provide softness and structure to the beer, which finishes extremely clean and fresh.
Sours are an acquired taste for some, but also one of the greatest expressions of beer, particularly for those into wine. Time to put down the wine glass and pick up a tulip.
Excellent to Excellent+
~$15 at Brewery Creek (also available at other stores)