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Sour Power: A Beginners Guide to Sours, Types of Sour Beers, And Which to Try First!

In the vast and diverse world of craft beer, there is one style that has been gaining increasing popularity and challenging traditional brewing norms - sour beers. Sours are set apart for their tartness and their tanginess - and often bold and fantastical flavours which departs from what is conventional expected in traditional beers! As a result, this beer category has attracted a growing number of fans who favour it for its approachability and dynamism! 

Some argue that sour beers may deviate too far from traditional brewing practices, challenging the established norms of malt and hop dominance. The use of wild yeast strains and unconventional ingredients can be seen as a departure from regulations that have governed brewing for centuries. Yet, even those that dispute its status as a "real" beer often cannot dispute that Sours are undeniably tasty.

How is it Made?

The magic behind sour beers lies in their fermentation process. Unlike conventional brewing, where carefully selected yeast strains are used, sour beers embrace wild yeast (such as Brettanomyces) and lactic acid bacteria. Breweries around the world are experimenting with wild fermentation, introducing diverse strains of yeast and bacteria to create complex and refreshing flavors.

The result is a spectrum of sour beers ranging from mildly tangy to intensely puckering, providing a novel drinking experience for those seeking something beyond the usual malty or hoppy profiles. Additionally, some brewers age their sours in wooden barrels, adding depth and nuance to the final product.

Types of Sours and Variants

Sour beers come in various styles, each offering a distinct flavor profile. Here are some popular types and their unique characteristics:

Berliner Weisse

Characteristics: Berliner Weisse, hailing from Germany, is a light and effervescent wheat beer with a unique charm. Known for its low alcohol content, this style of sour beer stands out with its unmistakable tartness, making it a crisp and refreshing choice. Often poured with a slight haze, Berliner Weisse is a testament to the art of balancing flavors in a light-bodied brew.

Flavor Profile: Berliner Weisse tends to have a bright and lively acidity, accompanied by subtle citrus undertones. Some variations may include the addition of fruit syrups like raspberry or woodruff, providing a contrast between the sourness and a touch of sweetness.

What We Recommend: 

  • Mosaic Pop! by Grimm Artisanal Ales
  • Brauerei Lemke by Budike Weisse
  • Daily Serving Raspberry  Berliner Weisse by Trillium Brewing


Characteristics: Originating in Germany, Gose is a wheat beer with a distinctive twist. What sets Gose apart is its slightly salty profile, coupled with a dash of coriander. The moderate tartness of this beer, combined with its unique spice blend, creates a harmonious and intriguing drinking experience.

Flavor Profile: Gose beers offers a drink where sour meets savoury. The initial tartness is complemented by a subtle saltiness, creating a dynamic interplay of flavors. Coriander adds an herbal and citrusy note, resulting in a well-balanced profile that can be both thirst-quenching and complex.

What We Recommend: 

  • Across the Sea Gose by The Rare Barrel
  • Super Funkadelic Gose by Dionysus Brewing
  • The Ghost / 고스트 by Magpie Brewing Co.


Characteristics: Straight from the Belgian brewing tradition, Lambic is a fascinating sour beer with a wild side. Often spontaneously fermented through exposure to wild yeast and bacteria in the open air, Lambic undergoes an adventurous brewing process. The use of wooden barrels for aging further contributes to its character. 

Flavor Profile: Expect a dry and sour base in Lambics, with funky and earthy notes derived from wild fermentation. Traditional Lambics can be enhanced with the addition of fruits like cherries (Kriek) or raspberries (Framboise), introducing layers of sweetness that harmonize with the intrinsic sourness.

What We Recommend: 

  • Cantillon Gueuze 
  • Boon Kriek Mariage Parfait Oak-aged Cherry Lambic
  • Lindemans Apple Lambic

Fruited Sours

Characteristics: Fruited sours are a fun and vibrant sub-category of sours where base sour beers are infused with a variety of fruits during fermentation. This style allows for endless creativity, as brewers experiment with different fruit combinations to enhance the overall flavour profile.

A subcategory of fruited sours are pastry sours, which take inspiration from the world of desserts. Brewers elevate the sour base with the addition of dessert-like ingredients such as lactose, vanilla, and other decadent components.

Flavor Profile: The world of fruited sours offers many expressions that are juicy and tart. From the bright acidity of citrus fruits to the rich, jammy flavors of berries, fruited sours can range from subtly fruity to intensely vibrant.

What We Recommend: 

  • One Drop Brewing Jam Cookie Dough Sour
  • Vault City Strawberry Sundae
  • Brewlander Love Potion #9

Barrel-Aged Sours

Characteristics: Barrel-aged sours undergo an extended maturation process in wooden barrels, often oak. This aging imparts unique flavors to the beer, as it slowly evolves over time.

Flavour Profile: The extended contact with wood introduces notes of oak, vanilla, and sometimes a touch of funk. The sourness can vary, from milder expressions to intense and complex profiles. As the beer interacts with the barrel, it develops a added depth of flavour.

What We Recommend: 

  • Aether Brewing Barrel Aged Cherry Sour
  • Threes Brewing Eternal Return Raspberry
  • Otherworld Brewing Tequila Barrel Aged Sour



88 Bamboo Editorial Team