Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Inaugural 2010 Boulder SourFest impresses

Inaugural Boulder SourFestWith sunny skies, it was the perfect day to get your sour face on at the inaugural Boulder SourFest 2010 at the Avery Brewing Tap Room in Boulder, Colorado. I, along with 500 fellow sour beer enthusiasts, gathered on a great sunny day to sample some of the 65+ sour beers from around the USA inside Avery's intimate quarters of their barrel aging room and warehouse.

SourFest was at the right time and had all the right beers in my opinion. Attendees were given a "menu" of all available beers plus a commemorative snifter glass with 20 tasting tickets inside. Each sample ended up being around a 2oz pour. Some servers were a bit more generous with their pours than others but generally you were given enough tickets to sample a wide variety of beers created with various strains of Brettanomyces and/or Lactobaccilus yeast strains.

Bring on da funk!

It may take some a while to get adjusted to the funkiness, tartness and sometimes outrageous flavors that sour beers can impart. But once you get a taste for them it may be all that you may ever want again.

Volunteers at SourFestI'm one of those folks who are absolutely SOLD on sour beers. I just love em! And for a 4-5 hour period I was in sour heaven. For those of you who went - did you think this fest was impressive? I did!

The best thing about this event was seeing so many familiar faces (like Nicole, Jeff, PJ and others) and also having a chance to meet and greet some of the local brewers who were also in attendance. Adam Avery (Avery Brewing) and Peter Bouckaert (New Belgium Brewing) were among some of the more noticeable brewers mingling with the crowd.

So which breweries were there?

Oh my, there were many. Here is the short list of breweries represented: Elysian (WA), New Belgium (CO), Golden City (CO), Great Divide (CO), Jackie O's (OH), Left Hand (CO), The Lost Abbey (CA), Mountain Sun (CO), Nodding Head (PA), New Holland (MI), Odell Brewing (CO), Oskar Blues (CO), The Pumphouse (CO), Russian River (CA), Sam Adams (MA), Ska Brewing (CO), Twisted Pine (CO), Victory Brewing (PA), Yak & Yeti (CO), Dogfish Head (DE), Jolly Pumpkin (MI), Trinity Brewing (CO), Two Brothers Brewing (IL), Weyerbacher Brewing (PA), Allagash (ME), Avery (CO), Ballast Point (CA), Boulevard Brewing (MO), The Bruery (CA), Cambridge Brewing (MA), Cascade Brewing (OR), Deschutes Brewing (WA) and Dry Dock Brewing (CO).

Whew! That's a lot of brewers and they brought around 65 different beers. I only wish I had enough time to sample each and every one of them, but alas, only 20 tickets were handed out and that ended up being just enough for this festival. The majority of the beers were over 7% ABV and after 40oz of sampling you could definitely feel it!

My favorites

Where do I begin. I'll start off with my top picks.

Veritas 007 - The Lost Abbey. Oh my - one of the sourest beers I've ever tasted. Supposedly made from Isabelle Proximus and Cabernet franc grapes. Nearly pink in color but oh so good!

Duck Duck Gooze - The Lost Abbey. This one was a favorite from GABF last year and I had to have more. A blend of young and old barrel-aged beers. Highly sought after.

Old Growth - Trinity Brewing Co. This was another hit from the GABF and it was even better than I remember. A Flemish inspired wild brown ale that was tart and tasty. Seek this out.

Benevolence - Cambridge Brewing. This is what I'm calling my surprise hit of the festival. A dark barrel aged brew that was full of chocolate aroma. Sour chocolate. Very, very wonderful on the nose and the mouth. Loved this.

Gold Yeller - Cascade Brewing. Cascade is well known for their sour ales. They shined at the GABF in my record books for having some very tasty sours. This light colored wonder was aged in Pinot Noir barrels for a year. Simple wonderful.

Inaugural Boulder SourFest Blend - Avery Brewing. I had to try out the namesake brew of the fest. This brew was dark, acetic and blended from many different brews aged at different times. Very tasty!

Sour Black Butte Porter - Deschutes Brewing. I love their regular Black Butte Porter and just had to try a sour version of it. Dark, roasty and funky. A great sideline for this beer. Not as sour as others but still darn good.

I could go on with my raves. There were so many hits here and very few misses.

Let's do this again

I'd like to give Avery Brewing a big round of applause for hosting this 1st hope-to-be annual event. The 500+ in attendance were well behaved and the facilities were perfect for just such a fest. The only thing that could make this better would be to keep doing this fest every year and open it up to more people. I predict this festival will sell out EVERY year like it did this time around.

If you love sour ales then this fest should definitely be on your must-see list next year. Simply the best.

I hope to post lots of pictures and some video of the tasting in the days to come. I posted one video of a sampling I did of Benevolence (sour chocolate beer) and posted it to YouTube.

Related articles:
- Avery Brabant review.
- Avery Brewing is next to can it's beer.
- Hot picks from the 2009 GABF.

This article came from FermentedlyChallenged.com
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