Sours Overtaking IPAs?

Are they here to stay? Sour beers are gathering storm within the craft beer industry, appealing to a new generation of craft beer drinkers. Could they possibly rise to become the next IPA? Though it might seem like a long shot, similar questions have been asked of hoppy West Coast ales in the past. So what is it about this family of beers that is so alluring? Read on to explore the possibilities and find out if sour beers are here to stay.

Craft beer has come a long way since the first IPAs began entering the scene. Often boasting citric and floral notes, the hops used in IPAs have forged an undeniable place in the taste buds of Americans and craft beer fans around the globe. However, with the growth of the craft beer industry, a new family of beers has wiggled its way into the hearts of beer lovers everywhere. We're talking about sour beers, of course!

From the fashionably fruity gose to a ferociously tart Berliner Weiss, sour beers are taking the craft beer world by storm. But what is it about this family of beers that seems to be enchanting a generation? Could sours eclipse IPAs as the new face of American craft brewing? It’s a long shot, but people once asked similar questions about hoppy West Coast ales.

A History of Sour Beers in the Craft Beer Industry

Unlike hoppy and malty beers, sours have ancient roots within the brewing industry. Believe it or not, sour beers and wild ales actually predate hops as the bittering agent in beer. In the old days, brewers used wild bacteria and fermentation techniques to create the sour notes we today associate with the style.

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In fact, many brews from this ancient time have been brought back to life in modern-day craft breweries. Some of the oldest, most established sour beers on the market include styles like Belgian Krieks, Ouidebier Gueuze, Flanders Red Ale, and Lambics.

In recent years, however, this once traditional style has been re-invented by American craft brewers. Gose and Berliner Weiss -- two German styles of sour beers -- have been finding their way into the taps of beer bars everywhere.

These new-age sours are typically low-ABV, incredibly refreshing and often feature unique flavoring agents, such as sea salt and sinus-scorching fruits like passionfruit and cranberries.

The Appeal: Why Sour Beers Have Everyone Talking

When it comes to craft beer varieties, people are always looking for something new and exciting. Sour beers offer just that.

The growing popularity of sour beers has a lot to do with their versatility. These beers are not only mixed with traditional ingredients, such as malt and hops, but also with wild yeasts and bacteria. This makes it easy for brewers to go crazy with interesting and complex ingredients, like pink peppercorn and prickly pear.

Additionally, sours are often low-ABV, meaning that they offer a light and refreshing way to take a beer break. Together, these attributes have given sour beers an appeal with both craft beer connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike.

  • Sour beers offer something new and exciting to craft beer varieties
  • Low-ABV beers offer a light and refreshing way to take a beer break
  • These beers are brewed with wild yeasts and bacteria and can be flavored with unique ingredients
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The Current Craft Beer Landscape: Could Sours Take Over the Scene?

One of the major questions regarding sours right now is: Will they continue to grow in popularity? In short, it's hard to tell. Although they may be trendy right now, sours are typically more expensive to brew than IPAs and other ales. This, paired with their higher-end ingredients make them a bit more expensive to purchase.

Although sours may eventually become the new face of craft beer, right now it's hard to imagine them taking over the industry. IPAs continue to be a popular beer choice in the United States, and will probably remain that way for years to come. However, there's no doubt that sours will continue to play a big role in craft beer for many years to come.

The Takeaway

Sour beers have become an important part of the craft beer industry in recent years. From the hippest of beer bars to backyard barbecues, sours are starting to pop up everywhere. What is it about this family of beers that seems to be enchanting a generation? Could sours eclipse IPAs as the new face of American craft brewing? It’s a long shot, but people once asked similar questions about hoppy West Coast ales. Regardless, one thing is for sure – sours are here to stay.

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