Several years ago, if you’d offered someone a sour beer in a can, they’d probably think you had an infected beer. Canned craft beer used to be rarer, and to suggest that something as esoteric and niche (at the time) would be packaged in a can would have sounded rather ludicrous.
Now, of course, it’s starting to seem like more beers are packaged in cans than in bottles. It’s a wave that doesn’t appear to be cresting anytime soon, and sour beers are no exception.
Some breweries like Destihl Brewing of Illinois go all-in on sours, as their “Wild Sour Series” would attest. Some of those beers are not for the faint of heart and can be quite challenging despite what their lighthearted can designs would suggest.
One of the foremost purveyors of accessible canned sours in Texas hails from Austin. Starting a brewery that would exclusively brew sour beer is not such a crazy idea anymore, since many beer lovers’ palates have warmed to the funky, tart and sour side of beer. No longer seen as the eyebrow-raising offshoot that it once was, sour beer was ready for prime time, and Blue Owl hit it on the nose when they launched in late 2015.
As opposed to some breweries that employ the frequent use of barrel-aging to produce funky flavor profiles — think many of the sour beers at Fort Worth’s Collective Brewing — Blue Owl chiefly uses a method called “sour mashing.”
In brief, this method introduces bacterial cultures during the mashing process when the grains are steeped in hot water. This results in a far quicker and less expensive beer to produce and also frequently comes with a less overt amount of sourness and tartness.
One of Blue Owl’s core four beers is Spirit Animal, a dry-hopped “sour pale ale.” What this amounts to is a low-to-moderately hopped beer that replaces all the sharp edges from the hops with tart citrus. It’s refreshing, clean and different. The marriage of hops and sour is a tough one to nail, but Spirit Animal gets it right.
Look for Blue Owl cans throughout the DFW area at around $10 for a six-pack.
Fruit on the menu: Division Brewing in Arlington will host a fruit-beer bonanza from 2 p.m. to midnight Saturday. Farm Fresh Fruit Fest will feature beers brewed with fruits from local farms, including blueberries, cantaloupe, peaches and plums. Admission is free and beers are sold individually. 506 E Main St, Arlington, 682-276-1276, divisionbrewing.com
Martin House shootout: Fort Worth’s Martin House Brewing has hosted its Riverside Shootout for several years now, allowing local homebrewers to compete for the chance to have their beer produced commercially by Martin House. This year, the brewery will make this a part of their Saturday tour as homebrewers from around the area will provide their beers for visitors to sample. Tickets are $15, which includes a pint glass, three Martin House beers and (gulp) as many samples as you like from the homebrewers. 220 S Sylvania Ave., No. 209, Fort Worth, 817-222-0177, martinhousebrewing.com