When sour beer takes over the world in 30 years, you'll remember where you were when you first heard of it. That's a little theatrical, but sour is a trend that isn't going away anytime soon. Specific yeast and bacteria treatments combined with barrel aging can produce sour beer. Patience is also key. Many of the world's best sours seem to find their sweet spot after spending some time in a bottle.
Maine's Allagash Brewing released one of these special beers, named FV13, in February. It's their first venture into the world of foudre beers. Foudres are giant oak tanks used for aging. This beer has a base with lots of malt character, fermented with a blend of wild yeast and bacteria, and aged in said vessels.
Poured from a 375-ml corked-and-caged bottle, FV13 appears chestnut with a white head. If you pour the beer in its entirety little specks of sediment will slowly sink into your glass. It smells musty, oaky, tart.
The first sip is dry and bubbly, like a champagne. It goes down with a sour, buttery finish. The beer sweetens as it warms, which really brings out cherry and other fruit notes. Caremlized sugar from the malt backbone comes and goes, but this beer is more about the dance happening on the tip of the tongue. It's refreshing and delicious.
FV13 checks in at 8.9 percent alcohol by volume. You could age this one for a long time to let the flavors meld a little bit and bring out more complexity. As it stands this beer is exceptionally drinkable.