Unplugged Sour Brown Ale
New Glarus Brewing Company

Unplugged Sour Brown AleUnplugged Sour Brown Ale
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Flanders Oud Bruin
4.11 | pDev: 13.38%
New Glarus Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Unplugged Sour Brown AleUnplugged Sour Brown Ale
Reviews: 71 | Ratings: 86 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of womencantsail
3.58/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Amber in color with a finger of off-white head. A slight vinegar note along with a hint of raspberry and red wine vinegar. Some oak and vanilla notes to it as well. The flavor is rather simple. Fairly acetic with red wine and balsamic vinegar notes. Some dark fruit notes and maybe a little bit of wood/oak.

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Photo of BieresDesMoines
4.62/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is from some old notes, but the beer was pretty old at that time.

Pours a Reddish brown, carbonation is farily still. Aromas of Apple, Oak, som e brown sugar, fairly funky. Flavor is fairly reminicent of wine, some notes of sour cherries, a light toastyness, generally dry and fairly crisp.

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Photo of mothman
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally got a chance to try this one!

Color is burnt caramel brown. Has a light off white head.

Aroma: Classic door county cherries. Caramel flavors and vanilla. Oak and spice. A lot like enigma.

Taste: A nice amount of sour door county cherries. Oak, vanilla. Very much like enigma. Cherries are dry and tart. Caramel malts.

Mouthfeel: Dry, tart, smooth, and clean. Lighter bodied with a lower amount of carbonation. Ends clean, but dry.

Overall it is a really good beer. Very drinkable too. I think this one is getting pretty old at this time, but it was drinking excellent.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.58/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Really looking forward to trying this one! Pours into my glass a murky, opaque brown color with a slight tan head. The aroma is more sweet than sour with notes of caramel and toffe. Slight sourness in the nose but minimal compared to the sweet aromas. The taste is fairly consistent with the nose in that the first sip yields a very sweet caramel/toffee taste that gives way to some mild sourness. Medium mouthfeel. Overall, a decent beer but if you are looking for something actually sour then this is not for you. The sweetness to me would get a little old if I had to drink a lot.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle split and poured into a La Chouffe tulip. Twist-off cap! This beer is about 5 years old!

Huge thanks to Bnieman for cracking this open to celebrate my engagement! When considering his love for this beer, his supply of it, how long it's aged (5 years retired) I feel very honored to be the recipient of a glass!

A - Dark mahogany brown and crystal clear with bright ruby highlights when held up to the light, SBA pours with a thin but long-lasting light khaki head. No lace though.

S - Hints of vinegar are reminiscent of the Douchesse while notes of soy sauce begin to show it's age, but it doesn't overwhelm the awesome notes hiding in this complex brew. Caramel malts, toasted to perfection, with low hints of molasses and dark cherries. Smells like it's gonna be good!

T - The hints of soy sauce still come through on the flavor profile but are even lighter than the nose. A fantastic light sour tartness pops out subtly with caramel malt hints, amber malts lightly toasted, and dark cherry flavor.

M - Medium-bodied and moderately carbonated with a smooth entry that leads into a subtle and light sourness on the finish. Well-balanced and delicious for being 5 years old. I wish it would be a little bit more sour but I can imagine it would be fresh.

D - It's a sipping beer that's fine split or even consumed alone as a session sour. Very awesome across the board, especially for it's age! I would send out a word of caution to anyone that might have this though. It seems like it's starting to decline with that soy sauce character. You may want to drink 'em sooner rather than later. Thanks again Bryan!

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Photo of emerge077
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cellared bottle, 2005 vintage.

The bottle opened without much fanfare, not alot of visible/audible carbonation. In the glass it clearly held some carbonation so that was a good sign. The color was a reddish, russet brown, fairly high clarity. A bare skim appeared initially on the surface, and faded to a string of pearls around the rim. Not much in the way of retention, but again this is 5 years old.

Some light maltiness in the nose, fairly sweet with little in the way of tartness. It has an apple butter note that carries over into the taste. Sweeter flavors of cinnamon, brown sugar, and apple butter meld with a softly acetic cider vinegar component. A sweet/sour mix, that's not especially sour as much as it is pleasantly tart.

With some moderate carbonation present, i'd say this held up quite well, with some fullness to the body. It was easy drinking, especially with the mellow tartness.

This was interesting to revisit, as it's "soul" was present in many New Glarus releases that followed: Enigma, Cherry Stout, Bourbon Barrel Bock, Old English Porter, etc. Hope the barrel program at New Glarus continues indefinitely, they are doing great things...

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Photo of weatherdog
4.82/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a tulip glass. This beer is about 5 year old and I've been sitting on it for about 3 years. I cracked it open at a recent tasting with Gonzoillini.

It pours a brilliantly clear cherry mahogany red with just a little bit of cream head forming then dissipating.

Lots of leathery, sour, malt sweetness in the nose. There is a moderate amount of vinegar but not overpowering.

This is just a wonderful complex sour beer. It has a fair amount of residual sweetness that pairs wonderfully with the sourness. I'm surprised it isn't too sour considering the age. It has some leathery horsey brett character on the end. To me this is just a perfect tasting beer.

It smooth, perfectly carbonated and just feel great.

This was my last bottle of this excellent beer and I'm really sad to see it go. I first had this beer about 3 years ago and it was my first sour beer. It completely changed my outlook on what beer can be. I'm glad that after all this time it still knocks me off my feet and stands as my favorite beer I've ever had. I really hope this gets brewed again.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.72/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Big thanks to the wonderful BA's out there that have helped me soo much in the past in getting these really hard to get beers. This one had to be one of the best tasting sours I have ever had. Served chilled and poured into an oversized pint glass, this one was consumed on 12/28/2008.

The pour was nice for the style. Hazy, cloudy brown in color with a very nicely presented color. Small head of off white came up over the top and settled down to leave a very nice, and very bare look to it.

The aroma was sour all the way. Apples, grapes, pears, funky tones all over the place. Some light notes of caramel malt underneath, but a candied funk al over the place. The flavor was the best for the style I have ever come across. Rich apple vinegar leading the way, morphing with candied sugar before puckering my lips all over again in the finish to really cap it off quite nicely. Smooth, subtle, and not overally carbonated, this one was easy to drink all night long, the only problem was I only had the one!

Overall one of the best beers I have had in a very long time. This was just fantastic in every way, and I would be thrilled to have it anytime.

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Photo of Douglas88
4.42/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle with a big thanks to hopscotch. Pours a dark and cloudy ruby color with a initially large off-white head that goes down to a small bubbly one. The aroma is very nice; sour cherries and oak, very tart. The flavor is very complex and nice; initial flavors are sweet malty and typical brown ale flavors. Later the very powerful barrel/woody flavors kick in, lots of vanilla and oak. The sour cherries melt into the wood to produce a strong tartness and yet are very mellow. Additionally, there is a sweetness also, brown sugar and candies, which also mixes well with the cherries. Very nice. Well balanced and not too sour. Lots of vanilla and wood in the finish.

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Photo of demcorhip
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of my favorite beers ever, and this was one of the first beers that blew my mind at the beginning of my journey into craft beer. Poured into a Chimay chalice. This was likely the oldest beer in my "cellar" and as such, as well as just how much this beer opened my eyes, i have chosen this for my 300th review. Unfortunately this is my last bottle, may Dan brew more again soon.

Yes, this is a brown ale. The head approached two fingers in height after the pour but its tan bubbles didnt feel like sticking around this very mildly and finely carbonated brew. The body of the brew itself is quite clear, and reddish hues reveal themselves when the glass is backlit.

I love the smell of this beer, a pronounced fruity sourness appears, somewhat like a souring fortified wine, with the aroma of cherries and plum. Rich malts with pronounced toffee character almost rise above the tartness of this brew but dont quite succeed. There is certainly a funky element to this brew, as well as a touch of earthy decay which could be due to the hops.

Absolutely brilliant. Sour and somewhat acidic, cuts into the rich toffee notes provided from the malts. Wouldnt be surprised if there were some cherries in this brew, its flavour certainly carries pronounced hints of cherry as well as other dark pitted fruits as mentioned above describing the aroma of this wonderful brew. A mustiness also appears and provides a funky twang that works very well with the tartness of the beer. A hint of oak and vanilla appear near the finish which ends with hints of freshly turned moist, black earth.

Almost medium bodied and hints at being cloying due to the rich and thick caramel malts. Perhaps more carbonation would have helped this impression, however this well aged version is not quite as effervescent as fresher samples. Nevertheless this is a wonderful sipping beer, with its exquisite depth due the rich and bold contrasting flavours.

Very drinkable, although too complex and rich for a session beer. It is the perfect beer for tonight, a humid and rainy fall night. This is one of the most memorable beers I have ever had the pleasure of drinking, and is something i hope to be able to enjoy again. For fans of beers that can be rich yet quite tart with a touch of funk I hope you have the pleasure of trying this amazing brew. Highly recommended.

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Photo of JDV
3.18/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Big thanks to Hopdog for this bottle in trade!
Pours ruby to dark crimson with a short lived light beige head. Smell is rich tart sweetness with a light funkiness. Taste is smooth, mild and lightly sour and easy drinking. Lightly funky, but a bit mild. Interesting.

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Photo of dirtylou
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

ontap = bottle

12oz single, cellar

it's been about 2.5 years since i first rated this and i've been sitting on a bottle ever since

appearance: pours into an oversized pinot glass....garnet mahogany body, thin beige foam with very little lace

smell: tart cherry (little did i know at the time, this would become a trend), balsamic vinegar, sharp belgian yest, pungent funk all around - similarities to the belgian red/cherry stout/enigma are obvious

taste: flavour profile follows the aromas pretty soundly - big vinegar spike, tart cherrys, oak, faint vanilla, brown sugar and lots of other belgian fun

mouthfeel: tart and smooth

drinkability: fair

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a root beer brown cloudy hue topped with a settled collar of off white ring leaving zero lace in the glass.

Nose of tart funk sour lemon peel shiver inducing aroma.

First swigs: Plain yogurt sharp cheddar bight followed by an instant lemon juice tartness. Orange drink, lemon pie filling, Spree candy. Yup, it's in there. Even a Starburst candy in there too. Finish of acidic Granny Smithh apple.

Feel is light bodied, and the tart sharp aspect adds to an easy drinkability.

Last swigs: Proper Oud Bruin. Well done and quite quaffable.

Beer is good. Happy tart beering.

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Photo of mjsarch
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My last bottle, poured into a Liefman's tulip glass.

A - 1/4" head settling quickly to a thin rim of foam. No suspended yeast, so very clear. Dark copper to reddish brown color, with active carbonation.

S - Not a whole lot of aroma. I catch a little Brettanomyces and a whiff of vinegar.

T - Lots going on: sour cherry, vinegar, brett, oak, and spice notes.

M - Coats and tingles the tongue. Not a thin beer by any means, but no maltiness or hops.

D - One of the best I've had. Reminds me of a Liefman's Goudenband, though I haven't had that one in years. Wish the Sour Brown would make a reappearance some day.

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Photo of shivtim
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer about 9 months ago; reviewing from detailed notes.

Pours out a murky red brown with not much of a head. Smell is sweet cherries and mild sweet vinegar. Interesting. Taste is malts with sour apples, like Granny Smith, and an unexpected bit of spice and smoke in the finish. Very nice! Great combo of sweet and tart. Drinkability is good but the sourness could get to you if you drink too much. Good mouthfeel, maybe a little undercarbonated. Unique and enjoyable.

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Photo of brewcrew76
4.57/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a slightly murky copper brown with a thin film of head.

S - Sour tart cherries with a bit of funkiness and a touch of warm cinnamon covered apples.

T - Sour cherries and apples. It has a little bit of an apple pie filling taste to it. You can pick up a bit of the oak in the background. Complex.

M - Medium bodied and smooth with just the right amount of carbonation.

D - I could drink this one all night. I hope they bring it back again, preferably as a regular offering.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.42/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Luminous cherry copper with bright orange edges. It's been quite a while since I've seen such a beautiful, warm, glowing color in my glass. While the pale caramel colored cap is nothing much to look at, and is now no more than a thin film, I love the way the beer looks. With almost no head and no lace, though, I can't quite grant the next highest score.

Keep in mind that I don't have a lot of Flanders oud bruin experience (this is only my fourth one). My impression is that they should smell exactly like Sour Brown Ale smells. The nose is enticingly fruity-sour (cherries, tart apples) with a balsamic vinegar-like aroma that is better than any vinegar in the known universe.

Wow! The flavor isn't what I expected after the aroma assessment. It's quite a bit different and I like it just as much, if not more. It isn't as intensely sour and as bitingly acidic as I remember beer of this style being. There's a huge amount of complexity here and I'll do my best to chronicle it.

Sour Brown Ale tastes like the beer equivalent of a caramel-covered apple soaked in cherry vinegar. That might sound horrible to some, but believe me, it works on any number of levels. Perhaps even more amazing than the dizzying array of complementary, contrasting flavors are the complementary, contrasting flavor sensations. Tangy and sweet dovetail beautifully. Their yin and yang is providing endless fascination and enjoyment.

I can even appreciate the woodiness imparted by the oak barrels that were home to this beer for so long. Each new mouthful brings something else to focus on, something else to explore. Another comparison would be a lightly spicy, sour cherry, fig and apple chuntney. I can think of any number of dishes that would shine when paired with this exceedingly well-crafted ale.

I'm at something of a disadvantage since I don't know what the optimal mouthfeel is in a beer of this style. This one is medium in a general sense, with a pleasant silkiness and an underlying (slight) stickiness. A minimal number of fine bubbles feels exactly right to me.

I wasn't gobsmacked by the Flanders oud bruin style prior to this wonderful Unplugged offering, but color me impressed if this is what is possible. The world's best versions had better be looking over their shoulders and had better be keeping their eyes on New Glarus, Wisconsin. Assuming, of course, that the Careys decide to do the right thing and make this one a regular release. Sour Brown Ale is tremendous beer.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
4.33/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Many, many, many thanks to thefatkid13 for this rare treat.

A: Pours like amber mud with a splooge of sediment remaining in the bottom of the bottle. This beer is like a dog that's so ugly its cute. It seriously looks like the color of diarrhea with the same opacity too. No head at all but various strange streams of bubbles form at the sides of the glass. Its like a train wreck, I can't stop looking at it.

S: Smells of rancid cider, oak, sherry vinegar and cinnamon. What the hell am I getting myself into? Relax...I felt this way at this point with the Enigma as well.

T: Begins sour and tart with green apple, strawberry, apricot and white grape. Brett moves in coating the tongue with peach yogurt culture. Pungent oakiness in here too, but I don't recall reading that this beer was barrel aged, perhaps it was. Lemon juice and cider vinegar add a serious twang towards the end. Finishes quite tart with lingering fermented strawberry, peach and lemon.

M: Medium body with a soft mouthfeel.

D: I love the ingenuity of this brewery. Keep it up, I love these odd beers. And New Glarus does it really well! Its very enjoyable to drink a beer thats nothing like any other beer you've had.

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Photo of Pegasus
3.4/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Slightly hazy reddish-brown color, with scattered white foam, and slight lacing.

Aroma: Sharp vinegar note at the open, with sweet and sour, and notes of steak sauce and vanilla.

Taste: Opens with a taste which is disturbingly like Worchestershire sauce, as well as distinct vinegar notes, slight malt, and wood.

Mouth feel: Soft, reasonably full, with slight carbonation.

Drinkability/notes: A quite interesting example, best taken in small servings, perhaps a bit over-the-top in terms of style.

Thanks to my friend and fellow BA HardTarget for sharing this rare example.

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Photo of Jason
4.14/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz brown bottle with a foiled and capped top. No freshness date.

A- Fizzy with a thin ring of lace, hazy reddish brown color.

S- Obvious sour note in the nose, lemon rind and vanilla come to mind.

T&M- Rich tartness up front. Suggestions of pie spice and lemon juice with a biscuity undertone. Liquid pie anyone? A bit slick under the smoothness within the moderate body. Tartness lingers for a good while, ripe fruit and a hint of caramel middle to end. Finishes very dry.

D- Yet an other example that American brewers can make stellar beers. Paired this one with some extra sharp cheddar.

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Photo of bennetj17
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thank to demcorhip for this out of production gem. Appearance is a bit low on carbonation as only enough is present to sustain a tiny ring. The color is a deep, hazy brown and plum. Sweet woody fruit aroma of apple and cherry with a light caramel nuttiness. The taste is lightly tart, with a caramel apple maltiness that is quite sweet and sugary. Slight acidity in the finish. The mouthfeel is light and crisp with sharp carbonation that thins out after a moment. Pretty tasty overall and it becomes more drinkable over time. I recommend trying it if you can trade for a bottle....

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Photo of CharlesDarwin
3.7/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Originally reviewed September 14, 2005. 12 Oz Bottle. Yellow filmed murky ruby brown pour, with a thin swirling head of off-white. Nice carbonation. Sweet yet astringent lemon sour aroma. Smells "sour" froma distance. Coconut! Strong run of coconut, with a background of pineapple. Like a sour Pina Colada. Not overly sour...very tasty! Very peculiar, not like any other beer that I’ve ever had (how many times have I said that recently). Finishes is wicking and oily coated lingering.

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Photo of assurbanipaul
4.24/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark, dull brown with a minimal head. Aroma is sweetly sour, green apples in a malty syrup.

Taste is extraordinarily sour. First wave of flavors are overripe green apples, maybe pear or white grape, very strong and tangy. Some flavors of balsamic vinegar, faint lime citrus, faint stale, musty yeast element. A mild caramel sweetness follows, not enough to characterize the taste as sweet but enough to draw back the sour notes a bit.

Mouthfeel is very sharp, very clean. First time to encounter the style, so I can't really judge too critically. But I do like my sours.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
4.59/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appears dark to copper in the light without a lot of head, but it is older. A thin little lacing crowns the beer.

Smell is aromatic and complex with fruity tones and spices with a good sour fruit flavor with a slight oakiness.

Taste is sour, but not overwhelming. A good mix of fruit, sour, and spice. It's dark fruit is sour and sweet on the palate. The flavor is powerful.

Mouthfeel is nice and creamy with a medium bodied smoothness.

I want more. I want more.

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Photo of expatsteve
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got lucky with this one, finding a four pack at Riley's in Madison. Thanks Golden2wenty1 for the recommendation.

Appearance: Deep copper-orange, ruby highlights. Heavy body, low/medium clarity, with no head present. Very light lacing evident on the top of the beer.

Aroma: As the name suggests, the sour characteristics of this beer are immediately present - sauerkraut and apple cider, with a little hint of Meyer lemon oil - the citric tones are reminiscent of Granny Smith apples.

Taste: Complex and pretty surprising. Granny Smith apples, sour cherries, and lemon rind. Admirable for not tasting at all like vinegar, and developing a champagne and cider crispness to the finish. Bready malt finish adds depth and keeps the beer refreshing despite the sour assault up front. In many ways, tastes like the hard cider of beers with considerable depth of flavor.

Mouthfeel: Light carbonation, but nonetheless seems fizzy on the tongue. Smooth, light finish - far more refreshing and drinkable than I expected.

Drinkability: I'm thoroughly impressed with how drinkable this is - I was particularly reluctant to buy it, based on the beer's description and style. But the balancing act that Dan Carey's managed to pull off - developing a sour ale that remains crisp and refreshing rather than curdling and oppressive - is worthy of praise. I wish I had a few more for German or Alsatian meals, or even just afternoons spent watching sport.

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Unplugged Sour Brown Ale from New Glarus Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 86 ratings