Here at Side Hustle Brews, bringing new and exciting beverages to the GCC isn’t just our mode of operation, it’s our mission. It is in this spirit, we can’t wait to introduce our kettle sour beer to the region. We’re thrilled to share this with you (just as much as we are excited to drink it). You might be curious to what exactly a kettle sour is, how it differs from a “normal” sour beer and some great ways you might go about enjoying one. Read up before our sour beer made with local ingredients lands in the region. 

What is a sour beer?

Simply put, sour beer is beer brewed to bring out flavors of acidic tartness. But more specifically, while most styles of beers carefully guard against the intrusion of wild yeast found in the open air, sour ales invite this “pollution” to propagate strains of bacteria that promote unique flavors including tartness. Once upon a time, pretty much all beers were sour ales. Meaning, before precise laboratory conditions we find in modern breweries, along with careful levels of sterilization, beer was once all brewed in barrels and experienced various levels of flavor alteration that added many characteristics including sourness. Nowadays, a sour beer is a bit of a catch all term for various styles of acidic suds including Lambic, Flanders, American Wild Ale and the Berlinger Weise. In most styles of beer like a clean lager, bitter IPA or smooth hefeweizen, the bacteria used to make a sour ale is considered most undesirable. In a way, making a sour beer is like turning an enemy into a very close friend. 

Sour beer vs. Kettle Sour

Traditional sours like a Belgian lambic, or German gose have been made for centuries, although recently, sours have been growing in popularity on a global scale, particularly in the United States. The latest part of this overall trend has been in the development of kettle sours. The “kettle” in the name refers more to the technique of controlling the acidity inside a stainless steel vat. Regular sours use a process called mixed fermentation that utilizes microbes from the air, the aging barrels, fruit peels and sometimes other lab bacteria. All these variables make traditional sours unpredictable and difficult to reproduce consistently. By containing the souring process in a vat, the kettle sour exchanges a variety of flavor combinations for control of one important quality: tartness. Along with speeding up the brewing process, this type of control allows us to execute our craft recipes for a predictably delectable ale that we take a lot of pride in.

Brewing Technique

With bacteria! Most kettle sours use Lactobacilla, which is the same culture found in making yogurt. This culture is responsible for the creation of lactic acid in the beer, also making it taste tart. The kettle sour starts out in a process like most other beers only it gets reheated and then mixed with the culture before it “chills out” for a day or two until the desired amount of tartness is achieved. 

How to Drink a Sour

Chilled of course! Also, you can try drinking our kettle sour out of a glass to allow more of the fragrant aromas to waft up to your nose, enhancing the flavor. If you can get your hands on some Belgium style tulip glasses, you can’t go wrong.

They also pair well with foods that do well with citrus. Our kettle sour pairs well with fruit, especially ones that have some tartness like berries, pomegranates, or nectarines. Sours also do well with a nice piece of fish or salty meat. Do you like spicy foods? Our kettle sour can make a fantastic companion to the heat of your favorite dish. We’d even drink this sour with pizza. 

Who Should Drink a Sour

You should drink our new sour if: you prefer tartness over bitterness; seek new experiences and new brews/brewing styles; or are bored with many of the offerings in the region. A kettle sour can be a great option to offer someone who is seeking new opportunities in the beer world. The fruity and tart notes are drastically different from almost any other kind of beer. This opens up a whole new world for those who are over the hoppier or maltier brews. And for beer enthusiasts, many celebrate the novel difference as a new and intriguing alternative.

Cheers!

A kettle sour may be unique in the beer world but it doesn’t change how we take our job as craft brewers seriously — we are independently owned, operate in small batches, and pride ourselves on our hands-on techniques during production. Our new kettle sour will be an excellent introduction into the category, and we are pleased to be the first to bring one to our beer community in the GCC. Sign up for our newsletter mailing list to receive an email when our new sour beer drops.