Flemish-Style Red Ale
The Bruery/Placentia, CA
What entitles a sour beer to be included in a weird beer list? The fact that most novice beer enthusiasts don't expect beer to be tart. While not for everyone, a well-made sour beer can be sublime to those who appreciate the style. As practiced for centuries in Belgium, aging in an oak barrel results in wild yeast and bacteria slowly adding a sour complexity to the ale, and this is true of the Oude Tart, which spends 18 months in a red wine oak barrel. The aging also imparts hints of tart cherry, leather, dark fruit and toasted oak. Sour beers come in varying strengths, akin to ordering your level of spice at a Thai restaurant, and this ale should be placed on the high end of the spectrum; the full-on taste of mouth-puckering sour/acidic notes with a touch of vinegar may take some getting used to. This unfiltered bottle-conditioned ale was the brewery's first major award winner, winning gold medals at the World Beer Cup in 2010 and 2012 and striking gold at the Great American Beer Festival in 2011.