No One Beer Should Have All That Sour.
As more and more craft breweries open their casks and doors to the North Texas public, the availability of craft beer around here is expanding to a point seemingly unfathomable 20 years ago.
Seems like bars around town are almost in a competition to see who can have the highest draught counts. The Union Bear in West Village, The Ginger Man in Uptown, and The Meddlesome Moth in the Design District all offer 40-plus selections of just draught beer alone behind their bars.
Most of the time, the selections follow the common ranking pattern: Lagers, pilsners, pale ales, dark lagers, porters, stouts, and imperial stouts, easily separated from light to dark, all mostly compete on how unusual a name the brewer could conjure for their creation.
New Belgium's “Lips of Faith,” Moose Drool Brown Ale, and St. Arnold “Lawnmower Ale” are some of my favorite names in the widely expanding and competitive craft beer market.
The fact that beers with names like that are not only commonly available but thriving in a market that can't get enough pints is just proof of the health of the area pub industry. Yet it pushes to the side some worthwhile, if less common, types of brew styles that exist on the fringe. Indeed, There will always be room to differentiate the classic styles, but beer can actually get as complicated as wine in the brewing process.
For instance: We all know beer is made from brewer's yeast, but there is a specific kind of yeast called brettanomyces that can introduce tartness and acidity into the fermentation process, creating an entirely new entity called “sour beer.” Brettanomyces are the same yeast that ruins wine, sure. But, of course, the thing that can kill the delicate vino only makes beer more interesting.
Drinking sour beer, you notice that it tastes like nothing you've ever had before — not quite as if something in the beer has gone wrong, but more like a refreshing and unique sour quality has been added to what appears like any normal looking dark ale.
The most common sour beer is a lambic, and the best places to find them are The Amsterdam Bar in Exposition Park or Strangeways in East Dallas.
If anyone knows of other places that serve good sour beers, I'd love to hear about them. Because, for now, grabbing a sour lambic and the cheese plate at Strangeways sounds like the perfect post-dinner evening I could imagine at the moment.