Sour + Chocolate

Drinking lambics remind me of eating warhead lollies as a kid, there’s something about the sourness that makes me want to go back for more and more …

Tuesday Night Sours
Tuesday Night Sours

Ah lambics … drinking lambics remind me of being a kid and eating one too many warhead lollies. There is something about the sourness that makes me want to go back for more and more …

First up I had the Haandbryggeriet Sweet and Sour. It’s a wild ale from a Norwegian brewery which, according to the website, is run purely on a volunteer basis.

Haandbryggeriet Sweet and Sour

The beer pours a striking cloudy orange colour – it’s beautiful! There are soft aromas of under ripe cherries and watermelon. Taste wise it is softer than I had anticipated which is perhaps just because it’s been a while since I’ve had any sour beers (shame on me!). As I sipped on it I got sea salt, under ripe plums, a decent bit of tartness and cherries.

I tried matching this with dinner, spur of the moment, by making sticky soy and honey chicken. As a match it was a little off the mark with too much sweetness dominating the pairing. Still, the Sweet and Sour made a really nice beer to sip on over dinner. The contents of the beer seemed to disappear quite rapidly!

Sweet and Sour Beer with Chicken

For the next beer I moved a little closer to home, choosing the Melbourne brewed Moondog Perverse Sexual Amalgam, a black wild ale with cherry plums. Despite the word “black” printed right there on the label I was still surprised at the jet black colour.  The aroma was a strange mixture of cherries and mushrooms; flavours were a mash up of bitter black cherry, green apple and hints of rich dark chocolate. The finish was tart and leaves you with a slightly confused look on your face as you try to work out what just happened to your palate. It’s not a traditional lambic or sour beer and I don’t believe it was ever intended to be.

Moondog Black Wild Ale

I decided to try and match it with chocolate from one of my local chocolatiers Bahen & Co (who you may know from their collaboration brew with Eagle Bay Brewing to create a Cacao Stout). As the beer washed over the chocolate it raised those subtle chocolate notes to the front. It was a challenging pairing because in some aspects it really worked, bringing out dark chocolate notes that seemed to fit well with a bitter finish, but in other ways it was very much at odds with elements like funky mushroom aromas and fresh green apples.

It was great to experience two beers loosely from the same style completely different from one another and sours appear to be making a little noise lately. If you’re keen there are a few great reads to see what’s happening …

Tarting up Australia – Australian Brews News

Temple Brewing Scarlet Sour – Australian Brews News

The Power of Sour – Australian Brews News

The Sour Italian – Tipples Blog

2 thoughts on “Sour + Chocolate”

  1. I’m always a bit sus when I hear non belgian beers described as “lambic” because in a sense lambic is a regional style reliant on certain local conditions, in the same way calling a bubbly not made in the champagne region of france “champagne”. But with that said, things are changing. Part of what makes belgian lambic unique is that the local microbiological flora/fauna is somewhat unique there so the wild yeast in the particular valley lambics come from is perfect for the task. There are other places with great wild microbiology, but they tend to have *different* styles. I can tell you for a fact there used to be a farmer in pinjarrah who brewed beer in a bathtub using wild yeast and it was actually spectacular. Lambic like, but quite different and less sour. Anyway, things are changing to a degree as biologists isolate the unique yeast *and* bacteria (lambic gets its sourness from bacteria not yeast, specifically lactobacillus) and now you can even buy yeast/bacteria cultures for brewng (For instance Wyeast 3278, or a custom mix from white labs for the more adventurous science brewer).

    More to the point however, its important to remember that once upon a time *all* beers where sour beers before the discovery of yeast and so by the sounds of it Haand’s beer is actually more of a traditional Norse sour, and a reading of their site even describes using a yeast stick method of innoculating a beer with the funky goodness.

    I guess lambic is a pretty good term for it. Though I’m probably more prone to call it a “sour” or even a “bug beer”.

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