Hundreds of beer geeks gathered at Avery Brewing Company on Saturday to enjoy one of the strangest, most inaccessible beer styles in the world -- and they loved every funky minute of it.
The second annual Boulder Sourfest attracted 37 breweries, which poured nearly 75 beers -- all of them brewed with yeasts like brettanomyces and bacterias like Lactobacillus that impart deliciously sour and "off" flavors to any number of beers.
Sour beers were first brewed in Belgium hundreds of years ago, the result of yeasts in the air that spontaneously fermented the beers. The style has become increasingly popular in the United States over the past three years, though, as craft brewers simulate the effects of the wild yeasts. And the more they make, the more craft-beer lovers drink them: tickets to this year's festival -- capped at 450 -- sold out in ten to fifteen minutes.
Some of the beers that created a nice buzz among the crowd this year included:
Avery's Fred's Mom, a spicy sour, at 10 percent ABV, aged in red-wine barrels.
Boulevard Brewing, Love Child #2, a massive sour brown, aged four years in whiskey barrels.
Cascade Brewing, Apricot, the Oregon brewery's blonde, aged for eight months with apricots.
Cigar City, Guava Passion, a sour version of this Florida brewery's amazing Guava Grove.
The Lost Abbey, Anti-Ox, acai, raspberries, cherries and coconut water.
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Pumphouse Brewery, Sour Barrel Springtime Saison, a beer that tasted exactly like Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal.
Sierra Nevada, ExPortation, a dark smoked beer, aged in red-wine barrels and soured.
And once they were all gone, Avery provided buckets full of much-needed Tums for the happy but slightly sour-stomached masses. Cheers.