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Sours: Where to Start?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Michigan, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. Michigan

    Michigan Initiate (0) Michigan Oct 24, 2012

    I have explored most facets of the beer world but I'm struggling to find my way into sours. Where do I start? I've had Duchesse De Bourgogne (did not like at all!) and a sip of HF Arthur (liked A LOT!) The only thing sold around me is that Lindemans Kool-aid stuff. Maybe it's out there but I don't know what to look for.


    feel free to send free Cantillon (I hear it's good)
  2. Do they have Lindemans Cuvee Rene where you are also? It's a legit gueuze and quite good. Not their typical sugary "beer" stuff.

    Anything by Boon is worth trying. Not sure what you have access to there.

    With sours, I think you just have to dive right in and keep trying things. I hated my first Cantillon. Now I love them; even visited the brewery.
    Revenant likes this.
  3. gatornation

    gatornation Poobah (1,285) Minnesota Apr 18, 2007 Beer Trader

    Petrus aged Pale
  4. caskstrength

    caskstrength Savant (330) Minnesota Nov 26, 2008

    Rodenbach Grand Cru
    Lindeman's Cuvee Rene

    both pretty easy to find, not too expensive, and a nice introduction to 2 of the best "sour" styles. (flanders/bruin and gueuze, respectively)
    terrapinfan88 and MickJ0nes like this.
  5. Michigan

    Michigan Initiate (0) Michigan Oct 24, 2012

    Cool! I do have access to Boon and Rodenbach. I guess I'll have to begin the discovery process! Now what do I look for? I guess I don't understand the distinction between Farmhouse ale, Wild Ale, Saison, Lambic, Gueuze, Flanders, etc... Time to experiment!
  6. Lare453

    Lare453 Champion (975) Florida Feb 1, 2012 Beer Trader

    Russian river shelf sours if you can trade for em.
  7. I don't know if I had an old bottle but Cuvee Rene was by far the worst gueuze I'v had to date. I believe my first was Hanssens Oude Gueuze and I was instantly hooked. It's easy to find (for me at least) and relatively cheap when it comes to sours. A somewhat more mild introduction would be anything by Jolly Pumpkin as well, especially since I assume you live in Michigan.
  8. chanokokoro

    chanokokoro Advocate (600) Illinois Jan 31, 2012

    Since you're in Michigan, some of Jolly Pumpkin brews are a good place to start especially La Roja which is similar to a Flanders Red and is a good drinkable sour especially for someone newer to sour styles. Goose Island's three sisters (Lolita, Juliet, & Madame Rose), and if you're willing to order online I highly recommend ordering directly from Cascade Brewing in Portland. Cascade brews some exceptional sours, some of the best the U.S. has to offer. Also, there are several places online that ship Russian River sours as well if you can catch them when they are in stock.
  9. cmmcdonn

    cmmcdonn Savant (410) Virginia Jun 21, 2009

    I wish I could like this twice. It's great having a sour at my disposal at any given moment.
  10. Michigan

    Michigan Initiate (0) Michigan Oct 24, 2012

    Jolly Pumpkin is overly accessible here. I need to fight my way through the countless bottles of it to get to the stuff I like. Come to think of it, I guess I've accidentally accumulated bottles of sours without realizing it. Do all sours (or none) cellar well?
  11. I just don't get sours. I've had 3-4 different ones and they just taste like bad vinegar to me, but I've never cared for anything sour. Maybe my taste buds are just wired differently than others.
    rab53, MeBeerGood and Revenant like this.
  12. chanokokoro

    chanokokoro Advocate (600) Illinois Jan 31, 2012

    Farmhouse ales and saisons are similar, however they aren't sours. American Wild Ale (AWA) is a catch-all style and each brew may or may not be a sour. However, AWA's are brewed using "Belgian-inspired" techinques that result in brews that display characteristics such as funkiness and/or sourness, etc. Lambics are sour ales brewed in the Senne valley of Belgium. Gueuzes are blends of younger and older lambics. Flanders brews are sour red/brown ales that evolved from porters and and were first brewed in West Flanders, Belgium.
  13. Michigan

    Michigan Initiate (0) Michigan Oct 24, 2012

    THIS IS WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT! Thank You! You get a gold star. I'd give you two, but I'm trading the other one for a Rare...
    brewsader and chanokokoro like this.
  14. chanokokoro

    chanokokoro Advocate (600) Illinois Jan 31, 2012

    Do all sours cellar well? Depends on what characteristics you're looking for. Some fruit lambics may become more sour as they are aged, however the fruit may fade over time. Apricot and raspberry, for example tend to fade more quickly while cherries (such as those found in krieks) tend to have much more staying power. Grapes seem to hang around for awhile as well. Lambics and gueuze that have no added fruit consistently cellar very well.
    Michigan likes this.
  15. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poobah (1,045) New Jersey Jun 3, 2004 Beer Trader

    If what you didn't like about the Duchesse was its sweetness in conjunction with the tartness, and how they seem to come from different directions, then you will love the Rodenbach. It doesn't have that left-field sugary quality, and all of the flavors/qualities are well-integrated. It's an amazing beer, especially for the price/availability.

    Another one to consider id Cuvee des Jacobins Rouge (around $20 a four-pack)- it's a bit richer and fuller than Rodenbach Grand Cru, with a touch less of that sour edge. Definitely on the same level, though- just a slightly different approach.
    chanokokoro and rgilbert like this.
  16. tommyz

    tommyz Advocate (580) Michigan May 28, 2007 Beer Trader

    Rodenbach Grand Cru is amazing..Just drank one the other night...If you are in Michigan, Grand Cru and Jolly Pumpking are all around..Jolly Pumpkin is Amazing imo..Most of their stuff..Noel de Calabaza is still readily available..I LOVE that beer
    chanokokoro likes this.
  17. rgilbert

    rgilbert Savant (345) New Jersey Jul 4, 2010 Beer Trader

    I'll second Cuvee des Jacobins Rouge
  18. djrn2

    djrn2 Poobah (1,250) New Jersey Nov 4, 2009 Beer Trader

    Oud beersel
    terrapinfan88 likes this.
  19. Andygirl

    Andygirl Savant (280) Michigan Jan 3, 2013

    Another vote for Rodenbach. Also, if you really get in to it there is a beer store right outside Toledo called Marino's that gets some oddball stuff I can't ever find anywhere in SE MI.
  20. Brunite

    Brunite Savant (430) Illinois Sep 21, 2009

    And a third. Great stuff.
  21. dalepryor

    dalepryor Savant (425) Kentucky Aug 30, 2007

    tiilquin oude geuze is a very approachable sour
    terrapinfan88 likes this.
  22. Duchess tastes more like a Flanders Brown than a Flanders Red to me. Didn't like it. RR sours were my first intro to sours, I was hooked. My favorite easily available sour is probably Rodenbach Grand Cru. $10 for 750mL at Whole Foods.
  23. mixed_master7

    mixed_master7 Initiate (0) Florida May 16, 2012

    I agree, and there is quite an abundance in my area right now. Not sure how available it is nationwide though.
  24. abecall98

    abecall98 Advocate (585) California Aug 11, 2007 Beer Trader

    Don't start at Duchesse or Monks Cafe.
  25. MammaGoose

    MammaGoose Aficionado (230) Wyoming Jan 10, 2013

    I agree with this. I'm just not a fan of sours. I've had a few Oud Bruins, some krieks, and some others. I've also visited Crooked Stave in Denver, CO with a very open mind. Just didn't like any of it. I wanted to like them, since I've heard so much about them...and I did appreciate the beers as being good beer, I suppose. I hate apple pie, but I can appreciate when I'm tasting a good apple pie over a bad apple pie. I just haven't gotten myself to like sours. Oh well, I'll stick to my hops :)
    Mediczod likes this.
  26. Hindsight

    Hindsight Savant (265) Ohio Oct 8, 2011

    If you liked HF Arthur, you may want to look at Saison's and not Sours (Arthur is a Saison), which is going to take on a much different profile than a sour. In which case, Hennepin by Ommegang should be readily available in your area.
  27. sacrelicio

    sacrelicio Advocate (635) Minnesota Feb 15, 2005

    Liefman's Goudenband.
  28. TicoCali

    TicoCali Savant (460) California Jul 25, 2010

    ^^ this guys is good.
    chanokokoro likes this.
  29. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Champion (800) Colorado Jan 20, 2012 Beer Trader

    That petrus swill almost turned me off sours. Almost. I know odell gets up in MN, if you can get some. Check out their friek, meddler, and deconstruction. They are all great. Avery has some solid ones out like odio equum and oud floris.
  30. papaholmz

    papaholmz Savant (250) South Carolina Nov 7, 2012 Beer Trader

    Rodenbach for sure; regular, grand cru, and vintage (2010 is turning out to be better than the 2009). Cuvee Des Jacobins Rouge is another good Flanders Red Ale as mentioned above. 3 Fonteinen Oude Geuze Golden Blend is a great geuze (and incidentally I have one for trade if you're interested).
  31. jsm1289

    jsm1289 Aficionado (220) New York Mar 11, 2011 Beer Trader

    im going to go ahead and say forget all the beginner noise, trade your whole cellar and your kitchen sink for the top stuff and then dream about it for a while, drink some more amazing stuff and retire from the sour game for good. so i shall recommend the following

    get 3f oude gueze regular, its pretty awesome but basically not quite in 600 home run club ,
    start with all the russian river stuff asap,drink them a lot so you know whats up,

    then, withdraw all your money from the bank and gather up your cellar and trade for oude gueze vintage, buy oude gueze golden blend, trade for izzy and all lost abbey super rare sours, get blaeber , the armand4 series and alll other one off cantillon and drie fontenien series stuff, drink one a week, proclaim yourself a sour snob aficionado and call it a day,

    if i forgot to mention any other super awesome beers it is because I am not yet a sour snob aficionado and am only in the middle of step 3 of my master sour plan , but i do dream about sours a lot
    brkstoutfiend likes this.
  32. Just don't go there, ever.
  33. Great recommendations in this thread. It's always hard to know what to recommend because many sours are regionally distributed, even the imports. E.g. here in DFW we get Lindemans (for the decent gueuze), Timmermans, Petrus beers, Liefmans, Jacobins (only on draft it seems), Duchess and Monk's Cafe (both undrinkable IMO), some of the New Belgium sours and most of the Jester King offerings. That's pretty much it. No other lambics, no JP, no RR, no Cascade, no Odell, etc.
  34. Immortale25

    Immortale25 Champion (875) North Carolina May 13, 2011 Beer Trader

    What he said. Also, if you didn't like Duchesse and you end up not liking Rodenbach or Cuvee des Jacobins, sours just may not be for you. Although, it took me countless Jolly Pumpkin beers and an Isabelle Proxima (all of which I didn't like) to finally develop a palate for the sour flavor. So it may just be a matter of time and experimentation before you do the same.
  35. Or just that the Flemish style is not for him.
  36. terrapinfan88

    terrapinfan88 Savant (320) Virginia Nov 15, 2009

    St louis fonde tradition is another readily available gueze.
  37. Michigan

    Michigan Initiate (0) Michigan Oct 24, 2012

    It might stem from my love of wine. Some characteristics that are sought after in Sours and some yeasts used (Brettanomyces) are exactly what I stay away from in wine.

    Maybe they're not for me. But I'll take all your suggestions and give it all I've got!
  38. Immortale25

    Immortale25 Champion (875) North Carolina May 13, 2011 Beer Trader

    True true. I personally prefer the Flemish style because the sweetness is more pronounced. If sweet isn't his thing, I suggest that he try gueuzes, RR sours and Berliner Weisses.
  39. This is pretty much how you do it. Since you live in MI make sure you get all of the Jolly Pumpkin Grand Reserve releases.
  40. Michigan

    Michigan Initiate (0) Michigan Oct 24, 2012

    Oh... Not this again!