Bel Air Sour | Brooklyn Brewery

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Bel Air SourBel Air Sour
Very Good
Bel Air SourBel Air Sour

Brewed by:
Brooklyn Brewery
New York, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Lead by our James Beard Award-winning Brewmaster, Garrett Oliver, our brewers put their collective minds together to conjure up one tasty magic trick—a thrilling jolt of tartness up front opens onto a riot of tropical fruit, courtesy of our lacto, our ale yeast, and a generous helping of Amarillo dry-hopping. Soft barley and wheat malts keep things dry and refreshing, and the whole thing comes together to close with a fine dry finish. Brooklyn Bel Air Sour is racy and maybe even a little bit dangerous, but also effortlessly cool, breezy, and undeniably compelling.

Malts: American 2-row, Pale Wheat malt
Additions: Lactobacillus
Hops: Challenger, Perle, Mosaic, Amarillo
Yeast: Our House Ale Yeast
Original Gravity: 13° Plato

User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 80 | Ratings: 315
Photo of metter98
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is slightly hazy pale yellow in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger high white head that died down, leaving a large patch of bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light aromas of sour lemons and tangerines are present in the nose.
T: The taste follows the smell, and has sour flavors of lemon and tangerine citrus along with notes of lactobacillus.
M: It feels light-bodied and a little tart and creamy on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer seems to be lighter in body compared to most other beers in the style so I would classify it as a "Session Wild Ale" if there was such a style. It is extremely easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of BubbleBobble
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazy straw with without much head, though notable carbonation. Biscuit, hay, lemon juice on the nose. Starts sour, but not overly so, before the hop bitterness comes in. The hops don't exactly balance out the tartness, but makes for a bit of a clash. Very dry finish. All said, glad I picked this one up, could have a few on a summer day, but think there are better options out there.

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Photo of Scotchboy
3.66/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap @ Kettle Black, Phoenix AZ.

A: Hazy gold with little-to-no head.

S: Sweeter breadiness, tart lemon...and cherry? Smells tart and fruity.

T: Follows the nose as the lemony tartness takes the lead, though its not overpowering. Really remind of a Gose - there is an effervescent note of underlying saltiness. Hints of fruity notes throughout the tart palate, finishes clean and fairly dry.

MF: Mouthfeel is light bodied and tart.

O: This is OK, not my favorite sour but definitely approachable and not overly intense. On draft I'm having trouble picking up all of the dry-hopping that this beer boasts of...

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Photo of mikeg67
3.59/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Pours golden with tall, long-lasting, foamy white head, nice lacing and lovely carbonation. Nose is of bready malt, tropical fruit and perfume hops. Body is medium and very tangy. Taste is very sour, funky, tart, fruity, some hops. Finish is long and sour. Too sour for me.

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Photo of The_Kriek_Freak
4.16/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very clear yellow amber with a surprisingly big head for a wild ale, even though some very big bubble carbonation made sure that the head didn't last all that long. The smell is very fruity and floral, with strong elements of unripe apricot, melon and peach. The flavor is very nicely balanced between sour and bitter, with the former coming first and lingering before the latter taking over at the end. A really enjoyable sour.

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Photo of avalon07
4.24/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a pale yellow color and a cloudy texture. There was a half inch of foamy head that didn't last particularly long. Fair lacing.

S: A nice aroma of light tropical fruit, yeast, and a bit of malt as well.

T: Tasted of some mild malt notes, a good shot of yeast, lots of tropical fruits (passion fruit, in particular), some citrus (lemon, orange), light hops, and a tart / sour quality. An incredibly fruity, vibrant flavor with a lot of character. Not quite as sour and yeasty as other wild ales, but still pretty tasty.

F: A well-carbonated beer with a lively finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This is a very likable, sweet easy to drink beer. A good summer brew.

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Photo of LAp
3.94/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

To be honest, my expectations were low - Brooklyn hasn't impressed me by and large in the past, and I was skeptical of a sour from them. I was justly rebuffed. The beer is supremely drinkable, and works well as a tart, faintly hopped, and almost salty (despite not being a gose) beer that hits its mark well. Pours a faintly murky yellow, with no head but evident carbonation bubbles. Nose is lemon and pepper. The palate follows the nose, with a clean sour profile being accompanied by lemon, pepper, and even a hint of salt. A faint hop bitterness lingers in the background. Overall, I'm impressed.

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Photo of BloodSoakedAleMug
4.73/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look: Hazy golden yellow color with a huge, rocky, two finger head of satin white foam.

Aroma: Lacto, pears and bubblegum upfront. Notes of tangerine.

Taste: Starts off sour with notes of peach, apricot and pear. Has a creamy, tart lemon meringue and tangerine flavor with custard like notes on the finish. Biscuity malt plays a supporting role in the background, but does not detract from the sourness.

Feel: Very crisp at 5.8% abv (This beer is mislabeled on BA - here it's listed at 6.5% which is incorrect, I'm going off whats printed on the bottle). Not too dry, slightly sweet and very tart.

Overall: Quite good. I hope they keep this on their standard rotation year round - or at least offer it through the summer because I could see myself drinking this all the time. An excellent example of the genre and one of the best session style Wild Ales I've had the pleasure of tasting.

If you're looking for a huge, high abv, heady sour ale look elsewhere, but this one will slate your thirst and leave you wanting another glass.

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Photo of sw201444
4.39/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

So, I love IPA's and real bitter beer. Usually sticking to the stuff I know.. being a chevy guy, this caught my eye tonight. I grabbed it and took this classy lady home, after getting her to open up, she gave decent head. I brought my mouth closer to her and after tasting her I'm hooked. I can only hope this beer becomes a permanent one, instead of a limited run.

Color; a very nice yellow. Not too dark, but it clear.
It smells like a beer, with a bit of a spicier scent.
Tastes sweet, with a kick. It's definitely sour, and that's a very good thing.
It feels smooth, a bit prickly, but nothing out of the ordinary for a sour.

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Photo of Biggtriksta
3.52/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: Poured a golden-orange color with very little head. It definitely has a bit of an acidic appearance to it. Reminds me of a tart fruit juice, maybe grapefruit.

S: Tart and acidic on the nose. Some grapefruit, orange, clementine zest as well. A little bit of an earthy malt back bone on the nose.

T: Very tart up front. Some acidity towards the back end that make me pucker. I'm picking up a lot of the fruits that I was getting in the nose as well: orange and grapefruit mostly.

F: Very bubbly. It's highly carbonated at the front (almost too much so) and finishes incredibly tart. Light to medium in body. It's just about light enough to make a good summertime beer.

O: It's enjoyable. I wish the tartness was a little better balance and that there was a bit more sweetness. It leaves me satisfied, however, and that's all I can ask for.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.81/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Well, this should be interesting, coming on the heels of Bell's Oarsman Ale, since both involve Lactobacillus. It also poises me to dive into my next horizontal as a part of the eradication of the Bottle Backlog here at Chez Woody. My next one, after this, will be Ithaca's new Raspberry Soiree Berliner Weisse Style Ale, followed by about six other Ithaca offerings.

From the bottle: "Meet Bel Air Sour, a favorite in our brewhouse these days. It's dry, snappy and bursting with notes of tropical fruit, bringing everything together with a fine tart finish. This is the easy-breezy dry-hopped sour ale you have been looking for. Sour, yet cheerful; weird, but true."

Hey, that sounds a LOT like yours truly! That must have been why I Pop!ped the cap & gave it an aggro pour. This resulted in two-plus fingers of foamy, rocky, bone-white head that again resembled meringue atop a lemon pie. Color was a hazy Yellow-Gold (SRM = 4 -5) so The Gelt Gang snobs of Mammon, Midas & Croesus turned up their noses at it, preferring 24-carat clarity. Speaking of nose, boy, did this on have one. In spades! The lacto was not the prevalent smell. Instead, it had that malodorous rank associated with gueuze that some call "horse blanket" underlain by lacto. This should be interesting, given the label's verbiage. Mouthfeel was thin-to-medium. The taste was an interesting amalgam bordering between tart and sour. The lacto gave it a slight puckering quality of lemon while the yeast was causing it to have the sour flavor of a standard American Wild Ale. I will be the first to admit that I generally eschew such beers, but I will agree that this was "easy-breezy" in terms of its drinkability. The sourness began to really hit me in the hinges of my jaw, but it took much longer than in other examples of the style. Usually, I try to have a glass of water ready-to-hand when even taking a small sample, but I felt like I could get away without water when drinking this one. I remain unconvinced as to the "tropical fruit" flavor to which they alluded, but I am not an expert on the style. Finish was tart-sour and very dry. However, it was NOT a mixer as I had experimented with Oarsman. This should stand or fall on its own. I would be curious to hear what hardcore aficionados of this style have to say about this beer. Is it too "training wheels" for yinz? It struck me like Baby Bear's American Wild Ale - just right.

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Photo of bmeehan
3.84/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

You get the normal things you'd expect from a sour with the big exception of, well, sourness. It's light, it's crisp, it's golden in color, but instead of any semblance of tartness, it's dry instead. It's not bad, but it's not much as far as a sour is concerned. Its dry finish is almost more hoppy than it is anything else. Odd effort from Brooklyn.

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Photo of SteveB24
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look-Clear amber in color, lots of bubbles, pours a half finger or so of frothy head on a gentle pour.

Smell-Whoa, was not expecting that- a strong, sour punch, accompanied by straw, and faint pepper notes in the finish.

Taste-Surprisingly sour kick upfront-I picked up green apples, grains, faint lemon peel.

Feel-Light body, creamy on the first sip but finishes rather dry.

Overall-As far s sours go, this may be the best value out there and the best available in six packs (Gives Westbrook Gose a run for its money in that regard). Bought one 12 oz bottle at Trader Joe's, going back for a sixer.

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Photo of drtth
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours out into a Duvel glass a clear bright golden yellow color with a 1/4" ivory white head that recedes slowly but visibly. Sipping leaves a few scattered patches and legs of lacing. By mid-way through the beer there are only a few thin tiny patches of foam a small thin ring around the glass.

The aromas include some tangerine and tropical fruit as well as a touch of light spiciness with grassy/earthy character way in the background.

The flavors are much as expected from the nose with some tangerine and tropical fruit. The tartness and a balancing sweetness are noticeable here but neither dominates the fruitiness that mostly remains in the forefront. Way in the background there's some spicy/earthy/grassy character as well.

The mouth feel is light or on the light side of medium bodied with a reasonable amount of prickly crispness from the light but persistent carbonation. The medium length finish begins as the fruitiness and the sweetness begin to fade a bit while the tartness lingers a bit longer before moving on to leave the ending to that spicy/earthy/grassy character from that closes out the show in some dryness in the back of the palate.

I've enjoyed this one more than several of the lacto soured beers I've tried since this one doesn’t seem to be all about the tartness. The well made beer is relatively complex with other flavors being noticeable rather than concealed by the tartness. I’d more than willing to have another one of these and expect I'll probably be adding this beer to my list of "occasional change of pace" beers for repeats in the future. I'd like to see this one become a summer seasonal since it is definitely a beer that would work well for summer party on the porch when a clean, refreshing beer is what would be wanted.

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Photo of scootny
4.31/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A slightly cloudy pale gold. Clean white head of about two fingers with good retention and nice lacing. A wispy, thin white cap remains as I drink.

Lots of aromas in the glass. Tart green apples, lemons, funk, mango, hay, light horse blanket, grassy notes, peach and pears, white grape. Wheat malt and baguettes. Wow! So much and I'm sure I'll find more later.

Taste is top tier. Broad malt front opens expensively into a strong lemony soureness. A bit of pineapple and mango juiciness, then BAM! An astringent drying and mouthwatering pungency punctuated a surprising bitterness. Nor huge but more than usual for the style and yet perfectly integrated and appropriate. Bread and brands linger as my mouth salivates.

A crisp feel with a quenching, refreshing swallow. Medium weight.

A great and highly drinkable sour. A new favorite.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful, bright and brazen in its sour palate profile, the culinary team at Brooklyn brewery cook up an ale that entices the senses with citrus, tropical fruit, light pastry and a daring earthen under current.

Bel Air pours a pale straw color and hosts a translucent haze. And that's where its bready soul begins. Whole grain, baking bread and those sharp citrus notes join up with cider, wine and cellar-like must before heading into taste. Soft on the early palate, its confectioner's sweetness carries the whimsy of sugar cookie and sourdough.

Embarking upon the middle palate, the ale quickly sheds its wafer sweetness and invites the sourness to steal the show. Lime, lemon, sour white grape, gooseberry, crabapple and passionfruit swirl in an exotic, fruity and supremely tart taste. Light on hay-like bitterness, the acidity balances the faint sweetness that trails into a musty dry back note of burlap and weathered woods.

Medium dry in finish, the ale's brisk sourness is brightened with mild salinity and the pursuit of fruit skins and peels that close quickly and with a crisp, refreshing bite. Bel Air is a wonderful beer that begs for tangy young goat cheese, a loaf of sourdough and perhaps wine braised mussels.

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Photo of HorseheadsHophead
4.39/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: Hazy, translucent pale yellow, with some visible carbonation; a thin, foamy white head with somewhat poor retention, and very little lacing.

S: Amarillo upfront; orange peel, dankness, and grass. A mild tartness of lemon peel, candied lemons, ocean spray and yogurt. A bit of light crackers and wheat.

T: A big punch of tartness of lemon zest, lemon candy, lemon yogurt, tart pear, green apple, and citric acid. A slightly salinity sensation like a gose. A bit of cracker malt and wheat in the middle, briefly. Then comes the hops, with orange peel and flesh, grass, a slight dankness, and pineapple, leaning a dry, clean finish. Tapers off nicely without too much sourness or hoppiness, and very little in the way of lingering flavors, save for some tart lemon candy.

F: Medium-light, crisply carbonated, very smooth, refreshing, and crushable.

O: A really, really good, easy-drinking dry-hopped sour. Perfectly refreshing, well-balanced, and flavorful.

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Photo of mitch3114
3.18/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Glad I didn't get the 12 pack. This just tasted like a lager with a hint of sour and and offputting bitter hop finish. One and done. Try it if you like but I don't recommend it.

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Photo of GOBLIN
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy gold color with a minimal head. Aromas are non existent, maybe a slight tarty funk but not much of anything on the nose. Upfront the flavors are grass, lemons, dandelion and some citrus. Feel is thin bodied with a touch of carbonation. Finishes dry. Overall, it's not bad, drinkable but more of a starter sour perhaps.

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Photo of The_Beer_Guru
4.62/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a golden color with a very small white head. I smell sour funkness, lots of tropical fruit, pineapple, passionfruit, and peach. Taste follows the smell and is very sour with a light crisp taste.

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Photo of Pencible
4.16/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: This poured a nearly opaque light gold with a little white head.
S: It smelled like citrus zest and green mango, with some unripe apricot and minerals and tart apples and a bit of horse blanket.
T: It tasted like green mango and unripe apricot, with some minerals and tart apples and horse blanket. It had a clean tart aftertaste.
M: It was thin with lots of carbonation. Nice bubbly body.
D: This was a great brett IPA, with more tropical hops than usual. The scent and taste were complex and delicious. The body was fitting, and the finish was relatively smooth. This would likely age well, but it was good fresh too. Recommended.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.51/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16 ounce pint - $5.75 at Taco Mac in Woodstock, Georgia.

Appearance: A light golden body, lightly hazed with a quarter-inch of whitish froth.

Smell: Sweaty hay, lightly spoiled fruit, chiefly smelling of lemon. Kind of a muted scent, for me.

Taste: A light pale maltiness, touches of wheat and a minute amount of grain. Flash of sugary sweetness superseded by a pop of lemon and lactic tartness. Soft floral, hint of glue. Drying as the flavors recede towards the nearingly crisp finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Moderate carbonation.

Overall: It's decent.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.74/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On-tap 8/28/2016 at Natty Greene’s Tavern in North Attleboro, MA, served in a snifter glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color, with a thin white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is faint but contains caramelized malts, some esters and some tart fruit.

T: The taste starts out tart with flavors of esters and some fruit. Then some breadiness comes in from wild yeast and a hearty malt character. The hops presence is very mild but brings a decent balance. The after-taste is tart.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, decent kick, decent representation of style, it’s a solid beer but there are better choices available in the style.

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Photo of ordybill
4.27/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the tap into a mug at the Taco Mac in Cumberland, GA. The appearance is a clear gold color small white head. The aroma is citrus and hops. The taste is slight hops with tart fruit flavors. Not a huge fan of sours, but this was really good.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.16/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brooklyn Brewery "Bel Air Sour"
on tap @ Total Wine & More, Claymont, DE
$6.99 for a 32 fl. oz. growler fill

Appearance: Mainly clear golden body beneath a short-lived 1/4" thick head of bright white. Effervescent bubbles can be seen racing towards the surface, but they just don't have the numbers to keep the head 'afloat'. Limited lacing as might be expected, and which is common in sour beers.

Aroma: Hoppy backed by clean acidity. Citrusy (orange/tangerine) and berry-like with some subtle spiciness, a touch of leafy/grassiness, and a hint of mint.

Flavor: The hops are not as strong as the aroma might suggest, but they remain, adding exactly what they promise and more (peach, apricot) over a firm tartness, and lightly grainy-sweet malt base. It's sweet-tart-ish with a bright fruitiness, and unique low-level herbal-spiciness that rounds it out. It's not bitter, as that's not needed with the acidity from the wild yeast, and it's about as balanced as you can get leaving a hint of sugar on one side and a snap of acid on the other. Spread over the top of that is the fruitiness of the hops, and the

Mouthfeel: Light bodied with a bit of a dextrinous edge, pushing it towards light-medium. Tingling, bristling, fine-bubbled median-level effervescent carbonation. The acidity adds a bit to the "bite" of the C02.

Overall: It has sourness to it, but it also has a bit of sweetness to it, and it's very orange and berry-like (at times I feel like I'm tasting blueberry in the back), and the edge of mint and other low level herbs is what takes it beyond what everyone else is doing, adding a subtle layer of complexity. Refreshing and invigorating, massively drinkable, and 'serious' at 6.5% ABV this is not a beer to be missed.

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Bel Air Sour from Brooklyn Brewery
Beer rating: 3.9 out of 5 with 315 ratings