Sour beers; my first taste of a sour beer took place at the European Beer Bloggers Conference, and if I’m honest, I wasn’t overly impressed.
On the lead up to the conference I’d read a little about sour beers and was curious to try them and see what the fuss was all about. I wondered whether they really had a place or were they just going to be a fad and the next cool beer to be seen drinking.
I went into the conference completely open minded and was certainly not going to refuse to try them. But from the outset they just didn’t seem to sit right for me. I have no problem with challenging tastes, nor with something that’s a little bit different, but the sour flavour given up by these beers was really a massive step way beyond everything I’d tasted before.
I am in no way disrespecting the brewers of these beers, as evidently they have gone to a lot of effort and expense to bring these products to the market, I’m just saying they are not to my taste.
During the conference, the issue of whether a beer can be good or bad was discussed. The answer that was hit upon did sum it up, almost, just in a very diplomatic way stating that, really, there are no bad beers, just beers that need to find the right audience or market. I do agree with this to a point, but to some people, there will always be bad beers. If you come across a beer that you don’t like, then you can’t confidently and truly say that it’s a good beer, it’s just impossible.
Think of it this way, if there was no such thing as a bad beer, would we all be drinking the same, single type of beer, as there would be no need to brew anything else?
Not everybody can, should or will like sour beer. And this choice should be respected as much as it is for the people who do like them. They’re not wrong for not liking them, it’s their choice and mine too, and here’s why;
Sour beers just do not give me what I want from a beer. I want a beer to be enjoyable and a pleasure to drink in whatever form it may take, and unfortunately I just don’t feel that a sour beer can satisfy me in this way. I’m not necessarily asking for something dead safe or boring, but for something that isn’t quite as outlandish or as challenging to my taste buds as a sour beer is.
I don’t want my beer to replicate a seaside supper condiment. For me it should be inviting, satisfying, and not something that rips your mouth apart and leaves you looking like Esther Rantzen after that initial sharp draw of breath through your teeth.
Don’t get me wrong, I know sour beers do have their place, but unfortunately that place is not in my drinks cupboard.