Craftsman Sour Grapes - Craftsman Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 13 | Reviews: 5 | Display Reviews Only:
4.53/5 rDev +22.8%
Want to give a big thanks to one of the bartenders at Hog's Apothecary in Oakland to bringing this to my attention. Poured on tap into a snifter.
Pours a slightly cloudy ruby reddish color, with some light off-white carbonation at first, which slowly dissipates into a thin ring over the course of consumption. Slightly viscous (especially for a fruit sour), but very well presented. I work with wine for a living, and it always delights me to see wild ales like this - a straight shot from Lambics, yet with its own bright, New World twist.
This definitely displays vinous and crisp bready elements at first, but this definitely changes quite uniquely over time in the glass. At first, you get mainly red and some blue fruit from the grape must base, consisting of plums, currants, raisins, and some tart raspberry. Never really reaches the black fruit range, and given the location that the grapes are sourced from (Central Coast), it's not really that much of surprise. Regardless, it is delightful, and brings in some green bell pepper, black peppercorns, some herbal qualities, ranging from light mint to black tea. Crisp at the finish, with a little bit of sweet caramel and toffee to mellow it out. Some funky yeasty phenolic properties, such as light leather and tobacco. Get progressively more sour smelling on the nose, and this accentuates the fruit base in a solid manner, while the beer base keeps it together.
While the aroma was solid, the flavor really was eye opening in every sense of the term. At first, you get pelted with soured, tart fruit (that simultaneously tastes ripe), such as a plums, blackcurrant, and blackberries, and then finishes really clean and crisp, with some light caramel, leathery notes, clove, and some mint (or eucalyptus). What really grabbed me was the finish, which rises in an unbelievably creamy and sweetened manner, resembling the spicy and full consistency of vanilla cream, or cream custard right at the finish. This aftertaste is massive, lasting well over a minute after each gulp. Later, more green pepper and spicy notes start to seep through the fruit, with the minty flavor becoming more consistent, and the creamy flavor dying down slightly. Regardless, it's very tasty, and the acidity is well balanced, with a creamy fullness and well hidden ABV that makes this ridiculously drinkable for people who love sour beer, wine, mixed drinks, or hell, anyone that loves a drink that tastes delicious. Really memorable, delicious stuff.
At first, I thought the creamy finish was due to possible oak aging or an addition of lactic yeast, but both of my theories were shot to high hell when I was informed that this was fermented and conditioned 100% in stainless steel tanks with no additional wild yeasts added than the Brett base. Consider my mind blown. This is a fine sour. Enormously underrated around here - I suppose being a wine fan such as myself helps, but it's pretty delicious no matter how you cut it. I look forward to trying more sours and funky beers from Craftsman in the future.
04-27-2014 20:01:45 | More by magictacosinus
4/5 rDev +8.4%
On tap at Stone Bistro. Pours a murky, reddish purple color with a tiny white head. Scent is lovely red and purple grapes with just a hint of pomegranate. Lovely fruit juice and acidic aromas. Taste has an initial off-puting metallic characteristic that fades quickly after a few sips. Lovely sour grape flavors mixed in with other red fruits. A bit sweet, but not too sweet. Slight vinegar. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation...maybe low carbonation. Puckering finish. Drinkability is fairly high. Overall, not one of the best sours I've had...but it was damn good. I really look forward to seeing the things this brewery brings to the table in the future.
10-23-2011 08:13:11 | More by DovaliHops
3.75/5 rDev +1.6%
Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA
Deep magenta/purple/red grape color with little to no head. Spots and lines of lacing left down the glass.
A very sweet grape juice aroma very similar to the bottled juice from the store (think Newman's Own, Welch's 100%, etc.). Pleasant enough, and actually expected, though very sweet, simple, and one note.
Flavor is very similar to the aroma, in that it has definite grape juice flavors. There's a mild sourness, a touch of musty earth and brick, along with a hint of darker fruits like cherries.
Medium bodied with ample carbonation. I prefer my fruit sours a touch thinner and with higher carbonation.
An appropriately named, mildly sour, grape wild ale.
09-20-2011 19:49:19 | More by ehammond1
3.58/5 rDev -3%
On-tap at Beachwood BBQ
A: The beer pours a purple-red sort of color with a fizzy off-white head.
S: Smells very much like grapes. Almost like Welch's grape juice. Quite sweet and sugary with only a mild tartness. There is a light mustiness and a little bit of grass and lemon.
T: Sligtly metallic up front followed by a light tartness. Still tons of grape character to it and some of the same sweetness that was on the nose. Still a bit grape juice-like, a little too much so for my tastes.
M: medium bodied with carbonation on the low end of medium.
O: A little better than Cabernale, but could have used a lot more tartness.
09-11-2011 20:16:41 | More by womencantsail
4.38/5 rDev +18.7%
On-tap at Beachwood I,
A: Pours a bright maroon with a solid white head, some good lace.
S: Purple grapes, pomegranate, cherries, a lot of grape skin.
T: Red currant and pomegranate dominate the taste. Some Bing cherries, fruit pie, plum skin.
M: Medium acidity. A medium-bodied beer with creamy soft carbonation. Very easy to drink and refreshing.
O: This was a most impressive beer from Craftsman. Seems to be a sour Cabernale, with Cabernet grapes. The grapes show their stuff, but as with wine, there's much more of a complexity of fruit flavour that just the Vitis.
09-10-2011 22:37:38 | More by Halcyondays
Craftsman Sour Grapes from Craftsman Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 13 ratings.