Beer Reviews

Glow (Fruited Sour Ale)

Say hello to Glow, the newest addition to our year-round family! Fruit forward and refreshingly tart, this vibrant and refreshing Fruited Sour Ale illuminates palates with a bright blend of açaí, prickly pear and passionfruit highlighted with a hint of sea salt. A flavorful, aromatic epiphany.

Review courtesy of our Sensory Specialist, Travis Houston, a Certified Cicerone and FoBAB judge.

Glow is a Fruited Sour Ale. This is an unusual style. Can you talk about the history/characteristics of the style. What makes this one unique?

Traditionally, sour beer is made by allowing wild yeast and bacteria to slowly ferment over an extended period of time, often multiple years. The yeast creates alcohol, while the bacteria creates acid. Many of these beloved classic styles were made with fruit, adding to the complex flavors created by the mixed culture fermentation. In the past few decades, a technique called “kettle souring” has taken off, which utilizes bacteria to quickly create acid before pitching standard brewer’s yeast to finish the batch. Not only does this process cut down the time needed to make a sour beer from years to weeks, it also creates a brew that lacks all the funk from a traditional mix of wild yeast and bacteria. Recently, brewer’s yeast strains have been discovered that can create acid and alcohol at the same time. This allows a sour beer to be made using our standard brewing processes, while also eliminating the risk of cross contamination by removing bacteria from the equation.

Glow is flavored with prickly pear, açai, and passionfruit. Talk about what each of these flavors do in the beer.

Prickly pear, also known as cactus fruit, is a really interesting ingredient. It’s flavor falls somewhere between a strawberry and a raspberry, with a floral hint that really makes it stand out. Açai also provides raspberry flavors, but contributes an interesting earthiness that plays well with the floral character from the prickly pear. The addition of passion fruit brings in some tropical notes, but also some citric acid, which brightens all the fruit flavors and allows them to shine.

What does the sea salt add to the overall profile?

When added in small amounts, sea salt is both a flavor enhancer and a palate cleanser. The acidity of the beer is slightly softened by the sea salt without negatively affecting its impact on the fruit character. It also acts to wipe away any lingering flavor from the beer, leaving the palate cleansed, refreshed, and ready for the next drink.

What are the notable characteristics of this beer?

The balance between fruit character and drinkability is impressive. The mild acidity, slight salinity, and overall dryness of the beer take a backseat to the fruit flavors, but all play a crucial part in the overall drinking experience. Without any of them, and in any other balance, Glow wouldn’t be nearly as refreshing.

What makes this beer unique?

The yeast used to create acid during fermentation just hit the market in the past few years, so that’s definitely something that makes Glow unique among fruited sours. Prickly pear and açai are very unique and distinct flavors that are somehow both familiar and exotic at the same time. Finally, the salt addition, while traditional in some classic German styles, is fairly new to the US Craft scene.

What are some other Fruited Sour Ales that you dig?

Dogfish Head SeaQuench Ale and Sierra Nevada Otra Vez are both excellent, and nationally distributed. Locally, I really like Shade by Madtree.

Appearance: Light pink with great clarity and fluffy, pink foam.

Aroma: Prickly pear, acai, and tropical punch with hints of water cracker.

Taste: Mild acidity enhances the fruit additions, drawing out notes of prickly pear, acai, raspberry, and strawberry.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin with medium carbonation, and a mild salinity that comes across late and refreshes the palate.

Overall: Prickly pear and açai dominate both the aroma and flavor of this light pink, fruited sour. Mild acidity and the addition of a small amount of sea salt help to increase the drinkability, making Glow as refreshing as it is flavorful.

What foods would pair well with Glow? Glow would be perfect with al pastor tacos.

Ideal glassware for Glow? A standard shaker pint glass.