Food and Drink

Pucker Up, These Are 20 of the Best Sour Beers to Try Right Now

There's a sour beer movement sweeping across the country.

best sour beer

It’s time to get acquainted with an ancient style of beer that uses wild bacteria and yeast. If you’ve never had a sour beer before, it’s best compared to munching on your childhood favourite sour worm. Beer lovers appreciate the level of flavour and complexity of sour beers, while those who don’t enjoy the taste of beer, like the fact that sour beer tastes nothing like beer. In the end, you can’t go wrong with a sour beer.

So, what makes a sour beer sour? Well, bacterias play a big part, and it comes in two types. The first is lactobacillus, a bacteria that turns sugars into lactic acid—the same way yogurt tastes slightly sour. The second is pediococcus, often used in Belgian beers to add acidity. It can metabolize without oxygen, and over time can create diacetyl, a compound that has a buttery taste, which is why sour beers are complex and interesting.

You can get a few different types of sour beer. The most known is a Gose, which is a German sour made with coriander and sea salt, The other types include Lambic— a Belgian wheat beer, and American Wild Ale.

While the sour beer movement has been slower In Australia, we’re starting to see it take off, so here are 20 sour beers to try today.

best sour beer
Photo: @moondogbrewing

Moon Dog Passionfruit Pineapple Imperial Ice Cream Sour Ale

Trust Moon Dog to create the craziest flavours with the longest title. This passionfruit sour ale is 7.5%ABV and has a sherbet kickback that’s sure to delight your tastebuds.
Cost: Single- $12, 4 Pack- $44, 12 Pack-$120.

best sour beer
Photo: @moondogbrewing

Moon Dog Blackberry Crumble Sour

If you love any kind of tart of blackberry pie, then this sour beer is for you. Expect to taste juicy blackberries, toasty cinnamon, and apple and smooth vanilla all with a gentle tartness— as if you were munching on the dessert.
Cost: 4 Pack- $22, 12 Pack- $60, 24 Pack- $110.

best sour beer

Feral Brewing Co. Watermelon Warhead

This sour Berline Weisse beer spends 12 weeks in chardonnay barrels before being blended. Expect a tart, spritz, refreshing beer for summer.
Find a stockist here.

best sour beer
Photo: @stompinggroundbeer

Stomping Ground Iced Fauc-Vo Nitro Double Sour

This Gose packs a sour punch and plays on a national treat— the iced vovo. Expect raspberry tartness with a load of coconut flavour and a hint of vanilla in a creamy body.
Cost: 4 Pack- $24.

best sour beer
Photo: @thegrifterbrewingco

The Grifter Brewing Co Pink Galah Lemonade Sour

Think pink lemonade meets sour lolly. This sour beer from The Grifter Brewing Co. is fermented with fresh raspberries and blended with 100% Australian lemon juice.
Cost: 24 pack- $85.

best sour beer
Photo: @hopeestate

Hope Brewery Sunny Boy Sour

This sour beer takes us back to the summer days with a Sunny Boy. Munching on the refreshing treat can be compared to slurping down this vibrant sour beer.
Cost: 4 Pack- $36, 24 Pack- $173.

best sour beer
Photo: @holgatebeer

Holgate Tivo Orange Sour

The best way to describe this beer is to compare it to sipping on an aperitivo watching the Italian sun. Need we say more?
Cost: 4 Pack- $22, 16 Pack-$60.

best sour beer
Photo: @hawkersbeer

Hawker’s Into The Forest, I Go Berry Sour

There’s a lot of berries in this one. Expect a hint of tartness rounded out with the addition of oats, and a big kick of berry flavour.
Cost: 4 Pack-$18, 16 Pack- $60.

best sour beer
Photo:@bricklanebrewing

Bricklane Brewing Co Someday Sour Mango and Peach

This refreshing beer is easy on the palate and is low in bitterness. It’s great for a summer BBQ or for enjoying when you want a little more than juice.
Cost: 4 Pack-$20, 16 Pack-$62.

best sour beer
Photo: @mismatchbrewing

Mismatch Brewing Co. Strawberry Sour

This low ABV sour beer is made with on-site strawberries. There is a sharp tartness to this beer, made in the Berline Weisse style.
Cost: 24 Pack- $75.

best sour beer
Photo: @badshepherdbrewingco

Bad Shepherd Brewing Lemon Cheesecake Sour

If you’re thinking does this beer taste like a lemon cheesecake, you wouldn’t be wrong. This beer is full-bodied, smooth and creamy sour with notes of lemony biscuit, vanilla and a whisper of sweetness, that’s made with real cheesecake.
Cost: Can-$11.99, 4 Pack- $41, 16 Pack- $144.

best sour beer
Photo: @batchbrewingcompany

Batch Brewing Co Pash The Magic Dragon Sour Ale

Red dragonfruit turns this copper imbued beer into a colourful sour beer. Expect a big passionfruit punch.
Cost: 4 Pack-$21.

best sour beer
Photo: @thehillscidercompany

The Hills Cider Company Berry Jam Sour

Apple meets mixed berries in this mashup made from 100% Australian fruits.
Cost: 4 Pack-$21.99, 24 Pack-$99.

best sour beer
Photo: @greenbeacon

Green Beacon 7 Bells Passionfruit Sour

This Gose boasts vibrant passionfruit flavour with a refreshingly tart finish, perfect for a BBQ on a Saturday afternoon.
Cost: 4 Pack- $19.40, 24 Pack- $84.19.

best sour beer
Photo: @revelbrewingco

Revel Brewing Co Lemonade Sour

This lemonade sour is exactly like drinking a glass of fresh lemonade, just with a hint of mint.
Cost: 4 Pack- $23.

Wayward Brewing Co. Raspberry Berliner Weisse

Formerly known as Sourpuss, this sour beer is summer in a can. It’s refreshing, with a dry finish, and has a zippy tartness to it.
Cost: 4 Pack-$20.99, 24 Pack-$97.69.

best sour beer
Photo: @templebrewing

Temple Brewing Co Okinawa Sour

This is not your ordinary lime sour. Japanese ‘Shikuwasa’ juice is added during fermentation which provides tart citrus, zesty, and sherbet flavours in this thirst-quenching sour.
Cost: 16 Pack-$75.

best sour beer
Photo:@newsteadbrewingco

Newstead Brewing The Doors Of Perception

Created with heavy helpings raspberries, blueberries and mulberries, and combined with raisin-like toffee malts this beer is both decadently sweet and zippy sour.
Cost: 24 Pack- $120.

best sour beer
Photo: @bentspokebeer

Bentspoke Brewing Co How’s It Gosen

At 4% ABV, this cherry sour beer blushes with a salty, sour, and sweet taste of cherries.
Cost: Can-$5.39, 4 Pack- $20, 24 Pack-$95.99.

best sour beer
Photo: @coconspiratorsbeer

CoConspirators Brewing Co. The Wheelman Gose

This raspberry Gose jumps out of the glass with tangy, dry and tart flavours melding in your mouth that leaves you craving the next sip. 
Cost: Can-$5.99, 4 Pack-$21.99, 24 Pack-$130.

best sour beers australia
Photo: @cbco_

Colonial Brewing Co.

Colonial South-West Sour is a warm-weather seasonal brewed in Margaret River in Western Australia’s South West. Expect a vibrant tropical aroma, but with low bitterness to keep this golden sour light and refreshing. You can pick them up in a watermelon and raspberry flavour too.
Cost: Can- $5.49, 6-Pack- $24.90, 24 Pack-$83.99.

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Food and Drink

Why Makrut Lime Makes a Star Ingredient in Cocktails

The Southeast Asian citrus is intensely aromatic and pairs with rum, gin, tequila, and more.

Photo courtesy of Fish Cheeks
Photo courtesy of Fish Cheeks
Photo courtesy of Fish Cheeks

I grew up with a makrut lime tree in my backyard, admiring the double leaves and dimpled citrus fruit that frequently made their way into our family dinners. Makrut limes, which are sometimes referred to kaffir limes (although the term is controversial and has been widely retired), are native to Southeast Asia, but somehow my mom willed a tree to grow in our Southern California home with great success.

To me, makrut meant savoury Thai food: steamed fish curry wrapped in banana leaves and sprinkled with chiffonade makrut, simmering tom kha gai with floating bits of the hand-torn citrus leaves, and glistening green curry accentuated by the plant’s aroma.

But to others, makrut is an ideal ingredient in cocktails and other drinks. Such is the case for Fish Cheeks, a Thai restaurant in Manhattan known for its seafood dishes and eclectic, complementary cocktail menu. Beverage director Beau Fontano knew he had to include makrut in his creations, especially because the ingredient is so prominent on the food menu. Makrut lime finds its way in several drinks, most notably as a garnish atop the Thank You Kha, a riff on the acidic coconut stew tom kha gai, and the Manao Mao, a rum-based drink that uses makrut lime bitters.

“I don’t love using the word tiki, but if you think of those tiki rum cocktails, makrut definitely works well in those,” Fontano says. “But I also love it in martinis-there’s something really clean about it. And with makrut lime, if you’re just using the leaves, you can do a lot of rapid infusions.”

Fontano only uses the leaves, because the rinds and juice of makrut limes are famously bitter. “Regular lime has a little bit more sugar content, so that’s why it’s much more approachable in cocktails. Makrut limes tend to be more dry,” he explains. “But when you use the leaves in cocktails, you just smack it to wake it up a little bit and it gets that nice citrusy, refreshing aroma which is really fun.”

The leaves are cut fresh, so each drink has the scent of makrut lime leaves wafting off of them. “I’m sure at one point I will get around to it and try to figure out how to use the juice,” he laughs.

Further north at Paper Tiger in Portland, Maine, makrut lime leaves are also prevalent in a cocktail called Something Scandalous, a tequila-based drink intended to be, in the words of bartender Nick Reevy, “crushed easily.”

Paper Tiger
Paper Tiger
Paper Tiger

“I went with tequila, specifically, because in Maine it’s 80 degrees and humid pretty much all summer,” Reevy explains. “So I made something you kick back easily. Agave has a really nice softness that elevates the makrut lime, and the main flavour in that drink is the Thai basil.”

The drink is an alluring shade of green and is rounded out by cinnamon syrup and falernum. “Makrut lime is really herbal and bright in a way no other citrus is,” Reevy adds. “It’s interchangeable with other limes, but it just adds this whole other depth of flavour.”Makrut lime has even made its way into hard seltzer, albeit a limited edition drop from Lunar. Founder Kevin Wong knew he wanted to add another citrus drink to his rotation as he witnessed the successes of hard lemonades, but already had a yuzu iteration. Makrut lime seemed like a natural follow-up.

Photo courtesy of Lunar
Photo courtesy of Lunar
Photo courtesy of Lunar

“It has a very intense citrus fragrance, almost perfumey or soapy,” Wong ponders. “Like I could see Le Labo putting out a makrut lime fragrance. It has such a commanding presence and body.”

To tamper down some of the boldness of the makrut lime, the hard seltzer uses makrut lime leaf extract, lime juice, and cane sugar. The aromatics of the lime are present without too much bitterness; instead, the seltzer is grassy, acidic, and dry. Wong recommends pairing the can with spicy foods, especially Szechuan dry pot.

The makrut lime seltzer is currently sold out, and Wong is unsure whether or not another batch is in the works. “I feel like makrut lime is the greatest secret unknown to the Western world,” he says. “It’s in medicine, candy, herbal drinks, cosmetics and aromatherapy. I think we did the seltzer too early, and I don’t know if the world is ready for us to bring it back yet. Maybe in a couple of years.”

But judging by the growing popularity of makrut lime in beverage menus, the comeback might be sooner than he expects.

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Kat Thompson is a senior staff writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @katthompsonn.

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