A few weekends ago we went to a Funky Sour Fest at Iron Hill Brewery in Lancaster, PA. Iron Hill remains one of my favorite local breweries and the food and service is always excellent too. I had the very great pleasure of brewing with their former head brewer Paul Rutherford a few years ago – you can read all about that experience over on Huffington Post. Paul is now the head brewer at Iron Hill’s Chestnut Hill location. Some of the beer we had at this particular fest was actually brewed when Paul was still at the Lancaster brewpub.
I don’t get to Iron Hill nearly as much as I’d like since we’ve moved over the river and through the woods, so I was extra excited to have the opportunity to attend their Funky Sour Fest.
Sour beer makes my mouth happy. Pucker up, buttercup, that acidity is gonna hit you right in the kisser and leave you asking for more.
When you hear that a beer is sour, it doesn’t mean it has gone bad. It’s not spoilt, like milk. It is, in fact, delicious and refined. Sour as in tart. Acidic. Sometimes grassy. Other times fruity.
We haven’t brewed any sours yet but it’s in the planning. We recently purchased a used whiskey barrel that we plan on using for sour beer at some point in the future.
There were five different sours available and I went for the flight so I could sample some of each.
Oak Aged Saison
Funkadelic Cherry Brown Ale
Oak Cherry Quad
Biere de Mars
Unfortunately, I didn’t take any tasting notes on each of the beers but I do know that I enjoyed the Oak Cherry Quad the most. I got the oak, the cherry, and the distinct quad-characteristics, all beautifully woven through with a tart sour thread.
I should have bought a bottle for the cellar.
If you live in the area and haven’t been to one of the Iron Hill locations before, I recommend you remedy that soon. I always appreciate the care that the company puts into training its employees and recognizing them for their hard work. Also, if you haven’t heard about the recent PLCB (Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board) debacle regarding Iron Hill and their mug club, then check out this short excerpt from Kevin Finn’s meeting with the PLCB and read the entire transcript after the jump. Mr. Finn is the President and CEO of Iron Hill.
We are currently allowed to offer one free drink per customer per visit under our license but we are not allowed to offer a larger portion of beer to a paying customer? This does not seem to make sense. Additionally, the casinos in the State are allowed unlimited free drinks to customers. While the PLCB seems concerned that loyalty clubs are enticing customers to drink too much, the law allows casinos to use unlimited amounts of alcohol to entice customers to gamble. Hardly seems like we are all playing by the same rules. - Kevin Finn of Iron Hill Brewery, as testified to the PLCB on August 21, 2012
Let’s make sure to support our local breweries, even when it goes beyond buying a pint and actually sending an email or calling up our local representatives. Our government should be working for us and supporting our views – they won’t know what we think if we don’t speak up and tell them.
Do you enjoy sour beers? If I had to choose one favorite, it would be Duchesse de Bourgogne.