It’s nice to have generous friends.

I was recently invited to a beer sampling over at a homebrewing friend’s house with the general theme of sour and/or funky brews, meaning any beer that puckered your lips or smelled like the Miracle of Birth barn at the State Fair was invited to the table.

The list was impressive, including a number of beers I’d never tried before that aren’t readily available around these parts. Here’s what we sampled:

  • The Bruery Saison Rue
  • Jolly Pumpkin La Roja
  • Jolly Pumpkin Oro de Calabaza
  • Russian River Consecration Batch One
  • Russian River Consecration Batch Two
  • Russian River Supplication
  • New Glarus Belgian Quadrupel
  • Boulevard Saison-Brett
  • Brouwerij Verhaeghe Vichtenaar
  • New Belgium Lips of Faith Transatlantique Kriek
  • New Belgium Lips of Faith La Folie
  • Lost Abbey Cuvee de Tomme
  • Allagash Confluence
  • Ommegang Ommegeddon
  • Goose Island Sofie

The wild ale thing is definitely on the rise in popularity, as evidenced by my time at GABF this year, with many brewers experimenting with wild yeast strains and bacteria to give their beers characteristics and outcomes that are very unique, adventurous, and often uncontrollable.

But there were a few misses for me, including Vichtenaar (far too young and sweet to include in this tasting), and Jolly Pumpkin’s La Roja (great fruit aroma, but didn’t get enough of the sour I was looking for).

However, the big winner of the night for me was Russian River’s Supplication, a superbly crafted wild ale that I had the fortune of first trying at Falling Rock in Denver. Somewhat reminiscent of a lambic in its intensely tart aroma and flavor (it gets ya here, and gets ya right here) with some cherry, vanilla, and vinous qualities. Really one of the masterpieces in the category.