That’s right another sour beer! We’ve been seeing more of these start coming our way. I’m a fan of sour beers and so I’m always excited to give them a try. We’ve also slowly been seeing more and more beers come in from Parallel 49 brewing company out of BC. We’ve recently received their Brews Brothers Vol. 2 (still a few left), 12 different beers done in collaboration with 12 different breweries from BC. (I hope to be posting about some of these in the next weeks). We’ve also recently received their Bodhisattva Dry-Hopped Sour Ale which is the beer I’ll be talking about today. (It’s got a sweet label too.)
Parallel 49 is a brewery that spawned out of three friends love for good beer. Mike, Nick and Anthony all grew up about 10 minutes away from where the brewery now stands. Having been avid home brewers and lovers of good craft beer, these three friends quit their day jobs in 2008 and opened a restaurant which quickly became known as a mecca for good craft beer in Vancouver. Wanting to put their money where their mouth was and stop talking and start brewing, they partnered with Graham with, a respected Home Brewer, and Michael Tod, a friend who had the business savvy and experience in the Vancouver craft beer industry, the Parallel 49 brewing team was born.
They have a variety of different beers and not afraid of trying some unique things either. I’ve enjoyed all of the beers I’ve tried from them, some more than others, but they are worth checking out.
What makes a sour beer? Well, that depends. There are two different ways a sour beer can be produced. The most common is controlled.
In the controlled method, the brewer does something to the beer to lower its pH. This can be done by adding other strains of yeast or bacteria (Typically Lactobacillus or Brettanomyces or Pediococcus), by using an Acidulated Malt (this meets German purity laws) or by adding Lactic Acid (an acid produced by Pedioccous or Lactobacillus) or Acetobacter, a less common bacteria.
Check out this blog from the American Home Brewers Association. It goes into detail about all these different strains.
This beer used Lactobacillus, bacteria that acts similarly to a yeast by eating up the sugars in the wort (unfermented beer). Rather than converting the sugars to alcohol like our beer yeast, it turns them into lactic acid. The lactic acid lowers the pH of the beer rather quickly and gives the beer a sour but clean taste. It is most commonly used in sour German styles of beer Berliner Weisse or Gose.
This beer has also been dry-hopped. While the Phillips Sax in the Dark was aged on Grape Musts to provide it with a different depth of flavour, dry-hopping allows a beer to take on much of the aroma of the hops added without any of the bitterness. You are not really getting the full flavour of the hop but there is certainly a variety of aromas that come along with dry-hopping that can impact the way the beer is perceived and tastes.
ABV – 7%
Appearance – Clear pale straw colour with a nice carbonation on pour that dissipates as quickly as it came. Almost looks a bit like sparkling apple juice.
Smell – The floral hop notes come through nicely on the smell along with some pear notes, citrus fruit and some yeasty funk.
Taste – Crisp and tart, incredibly refreshing. Citrus notes, pear comes through as well.
Mouth Feel – Tart, sour, crisp. Nice carbonation that leaves the tongue a tingling. Dry finish, light bodied.
Overall Thoughts – Solid, balanced, crisp and delicious. Alcohol content is unnoticeable making this refreshing beer easily drinkable. Overall it is a solidly balanced sour that would be delicious on a nice warm summer day.
Do I like it? – I did really like this beer. I’m a big fan of sours, but even if I wasn’t, this beer brings a lot to the table. It’s crisp, its refreshing, and the sourness is not overpowering. The aroma from the dry-hopping makes it pleasant all around. I rather enjoyed it.