How Kettle Souring is making Sour Beer Cheap and Affordable

A relatively new method of brewing called Kettle Souring is making sour beer cheap and affordable for breweries and consumers. Kettle soured beer has joined the mainstays with early examples like Bend Brewing’s Ching Ching to more recent hits like The Commons Myrtle and Biere Royale, Anderson Valley’s Gose, Breakside’s La Tormenta and many more making sours more approachable than ever.

 

Sour beer (more a descriptor than a style) has been one of the hottest trends in American craft brewing for some time now but the time, costliness and margin of error due to inexperience set the bar very high. Where classic sour styles like Lambic would take a year or more to develop in Belgium and then under ideal conditions where everything from the dust and cobwebs of an old brewery to the microbes and bacteria in the breeze coming off the fields was conducive to the style. American brewing had been more influenced by German industrial brewing practices than anyone where the emphasis is on producing clean, technically efficient beer with traditional ingredients in shorter periods of time was the goal. So most American breweries were unequipped to capture spontaneous yeast and bacteria in the air or to let a risky souring project sit in oak barrels for a year that may turn out badly. Even with the ideal conditions for mixed wild/sour fermentation, brewers are afraid of their brewhouse being infected by these bugs that could then cause off flavors in all beer, even those not meant to be soured. Now a new method called Kettle Souring is becoming one of the trendiest methods for brewers to bring their beers down to a low PH in a matter of days and without the risk of cross contamination. This method has made recent beers like Anderson Valley’s Blood Orange Gose and Breakside Brewery’s Passionfruit Sour affordable and in large quantities at major grocery outlets for the first time.

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