e’ve been drinking sour beers for a looong time. There’s something so different about the category than the rest of the beer world. They can be tongue-piercingly acidic or mild and fruity. They can be clean and assertive or funky and complex. To say a beer is a sour just isn’t descriptive enough to know what you’re getting into. But when you say it’s a pastry sour, well, we all know where we’re headed now. There’s gonna be some sweetness. There’s gonna be big flavor. And most often, the sourness is a bit more restrained, or balanced by the sweetness. At least, that’s what we think of when we think pastry sours.
The Pastry Party is a new line of beers that is going to kick-off with a series of pastry sours; the first of which will be Strawberry Pie à la Mode. One of the things that makes this beer different (and all the iterations to come) is that we’re not making a kettle sour.
You see, the normal way that quick sours are made (and by quick sours, we mean the opposite of Belgian Lambic’s and the like that take years in a barrel before they’re finished) is to do what’s called a kettle sour. When you use this method, you start your brew as normal, but before you start the boil, you add a bacteria called Lactobacillus. You then seal up your kettle nice and tight for 24-48 hours. In that time, the Lacto bugs go to work on your wort and the pH drops significantly, creating that sour flavor. When it’s dropped enough, you boil the wort to kill the Lacto and halt the souring process from going any further.
Tart pastry sours and sticky pastry stouts....mmmmmm
Well, we don’t do that. With Lacto, you can get all kinds of different acidic compounds developing in your beer, like acetic acid and ethanol. Some of these, like the aforementioned acetic, can have a harshness to them that we just don’t want to invite to the Pastry Party. So, we do something different. Instead of the kettle sour method, we use the fermenter sour method. Utilizing a bio-engineered strain of Saccharomyces yeast that has had a gene altered so that it throws-off pure lactic acid (with no other by-products) while it ferments the beer. This allows for a cleaner profile to build from. Once the beer is almost done fermenting, we start layering on the flavor; tons of rich strawberry juice combines with that sourness to mimic the filling from a strawberry pie. We also brew this with a hefty dose of lactose (milk sugar) and add into the fermenter a bunch of vanilla as well to create the sensation of a nice big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of the pie. Yum!
But the Pastry Party is going to be more than just sours. Later in the series, we’ll switch gears from pastry sours to pastry stouts. Imagine a big, thiccc, sweet-stout oozing with the flavors of a Cinnamon Roll. Or a sweet-stout that mimics the flavors of French Toast. We think you get the drift. We’re looking forward to having a really fun platform to create unique beer flavors for you adventurous drinkers out there. Whether it’s a stout or a sour, look for the Pastry Party to bring a sweet treat to you next glass of beer!