Best Sour Beers to Try Out in 2022 [Complete Guide]

by Karl S Updated on July 5, 2022

Sour beer is a new term that surely piques our curiosity.

Before you go on and try brews that could destroy the brew’s reputation for you, we have compiled a list of the best sour beers that will surely not break your tart.

The 12 Best Sour Beers

Do you want to spice up the party and add more awesome flavors to your drinking arsenal. Well, it’s time to bottoms up because we’re about to show you the best sour beers!

1) Fou’ Foune – Best Overall

Features:

  • Brewed by: Brasserie Cantillon
  • From: Belgium
  • ABV: 5.5%

Nothing can beat AUTHENTIC lambic, which makes it our BEST OVERALL pick.

Cantillon has been brewing craft beer since 1900 and is considered the BEST sour beer brewery in the world.

Fou’ Foune is a lambic beer blended with apricots to ferment for a few weeks.

It offers assertive acidity while it showcases the apricot flavor. It has a soft mouthfeel and, simultaneously, crisp carbonation.

The complex flavors of this classic fruit beer, all contained in one bottle, make it a quality standardfor many worldwide. Delicious!

2) Wild Little Thing – Best Value

Features:

  • Brewed by: Sierra Nevada
  • From: California, USA
  • ABV: 5.5%

This slightly sour ale is the best American-style sour beer and our best value pick.

The Sierra Nevada Wild Little Thing is a kettle sour ale whose base beer is the brewery’s top-seller Hazy Little Thing.

Its fruity flavor comes from the guava, hibiscus, and strawberry in its ingredients.

Adding Cascade hops results in just the right amount of pucker for this brew!

3) Sour IPA

Features:

  • Brewed by: New Belgium Brewing Company
  • From: Colorado, USA
  • ABV: 7%

If you are a fan of hops, we have the best sour IPA for you. As a bonus, it does not come with a high price tag, making it ourBEST BUDGET PICK.

This sour IPA is a HIT on its aromatics, thanks to theCitra and Amarillohops in this brew. It has a hazy appearance and presents brightly acidic tropical notes of orange juice.

On top of that, this unique brew is widely distributed and easy to find!

4) Beatification

Features:

  • Brewed by: Russian River Brewing Co.
  • From: California, USA
  • ABV: 6%

Here is a great sour pick from one of the best American craft breweries!

The Beatification is one of Russian River’s Belgian-inspired wild ales that is their version of the Belgian lambic.

The brew is one of the 100% spontaneously fermented beers that is aged in oak barrels for months.

It results in a golden, delectable brew with a tart flavor and notes of citrus flavors!

5) Fruit Stand – Cherry

Features:

  • Brewed by: Casey Brewing And Blending
  • From: Colorado, USA
  • ABV: 5.5%

When it comes to sour and wild beer, Casey Brewing and Blending has made an established name.

The brewery specializes in FRUITED SOURS with Fruit Stand as their series name. They pride themselves in using only vintage oak barrels and whole local fruit.

The product lineup consists of Cherry, Apricot, Blackberry, Peach, Plum, and Raspberry.

Our favorite among the flavors is the Cherry, whose harmony in aroma, sourness, and flavor just seals the deal for us!

It tastes funky and sour while balancing the notes of blackberry with its malty sweetness and mild bitterness.

6) SeaQuench Ale

Features:

  • Brewed by: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
  • From: Delaware, USA
  • ABV: 4.9%

This refreshing beer is for those who are NEW to sour beers.

Brewing this line of wild ales is with the special participation of the co-founder of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute to improve its mineral content.

This thirst-quenching beer has restrained acidity and is not too funky. It is crisp with notes of lime and sea salt.

This mild sour ale is our best introductory sour!

7) La Folie

Features:

  • Brewed by: New Belgium Brewing Brewing Co
  • From: Colorado, USA
  • ABV: 7%

La Folie is the best Flemish-style sour ale.

This Flemish Brown is left to ferment for one to three years in foeders.

New Belgium’s take on Belgian-style sour beers is medium-bodied with a creamy mouthfeel and slight bitterness.

It tastes slightly acidic with delicious notes of cherry pie nose, green apple, and toasted bread.

8) Bretta Rosé

Features:

  • Brewed by: Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
  • From: California, USA
  • ABV: 5.3%

The Firestone Walker Bretta Rosé ticks off all the boxes for the best Berliner Weisse!

This wheat beer is fermented in French oak with raspberries for about six months and has a low ABV.

The resulting brew is a pink-colored bubblydrink.

The abundant raspberries in this brew contribute to its flavorful aroma, bracing acidity, refreshing tartness, and dry finish.

9) Rodenbach Grand Cru

Features:

  • Brewed by: Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
  • From: Belgium
  • ABV: 6%

This pick goes out to all the red wine drinkers!

This Flanders red ale blends un-aged Rodenbach and 2-year-aged Rodenbach in a 1:2 ratio.

The resulting blend is tart and sour with notes of sweet raisin, cherries, oak, and wine tannins.

This flavorful wine-inspired sour is also a dry beer that keeps Belgian beer lovers begging for a second and third glass!

10) Sour Rosé

Features:

  • Brewed by: Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project
  • From: Colorado, USA
  • ABV: 4.5%

Calling all rosé drinkers, we have something for you!

The Sour Rosé is a wild ale that is unfiltered and fizzy with fruitysourness.

The raspberries and blueberries used in the brew cause its bright rose color.

Thiscrossover beeris a style recognition for wine drinkers! This niche market contributes to its higher price point.

See? Wine and beer CAN coexist!

11) Madame R. Galle

Features:

  • Brewed by: Fair Isle Brewing
  • From: Washington, USA
  • ABV: 6.2%

Madame R. Galle is for the Saison beer fans out there.

Our pick for BEST wild Saison exhibits all the characteristics Saison fans will be looking for but with the added slight sourness.

It has restrained acidity with notes of lemon, stone fruit, and passion fruit.

Of course, since it is derived from Saison, this refreshing beer has high carbonation.

12) Persian Lime Gose

Features:

  • Brewed by: Two Roads Brewing Company
  • From: Connecticut, USA
  • ABV: 4.5%

Have you ever imagined coriander and salt to be in your beer brew? Neither have we.

We’re not kidding when we say that Two Roads Persian Lime Gose is made with coriander and salt!

The unusual notes of this brew are stabilized with just the RIGHT amountof mild acidity by Persian lime.

The resulting beer is medium-bodied and has aromas of lime zest and lemon peel with tastes of salt and light malts.

What Is Sour Beer?

Sour beer, sometimes called American wild ale, is a beer style that has distinct tartness, slight sourness, and an acidic flavor.

NOTE: It does not always have to be sour! It also has a fizzy character that can be likened to sparkling wine.

This complexity is caused by the bacteria and wild yeast that are infused during its fermentation process.

There are many variables in making sour beer, such as brewing style, souring bacteria, wild yeast, and storage container.

Sour ales can be aged in wooden barrels, infused with fruits, or saturated with tropical hops, resulting in ENDLESS possible kinds and flavors of sour beer!

What Is the Process of Making Sour Beer?

If you look at the ingredients of your beer and find unfamiliar terms like wild yeast, Brettanomyces, and lactobacillus, you are about to drink a sour beer.

There are TWO MAJOR PLAYERS in the brewing process: bacteria and yeast!

  • The common bacteria infused in sour beer fermentation are lactobacillus, Brettanomyces, and pediococcus.
  • The usual yeastadded to the brew consists of Saccharomyces or brewer’s yeast.

These microbes do the microscopic work in the fermentation process to result in the distinct brew of sour beers.

Barrel-Aged

Like good wine and liquor, a good sour is typically aged in oak barrels. They can be oak wine barrels, bourbon barrels, or foeders.

Oak allows the right amount of oxygen into the fermentation to slow the process.

It can also provide tannins and vanilla notes.

Kettle Sour

Kettle souring is FASTER and usually takes the same amount of time as brewing a regular beer.

The brew is soured in the brew kettle and follows the same brewing process as regular beer.

Kettle sours do not have souring bacteria in them. This method is used to make Berliner Weisse and salty Gose.

Fruited

The fruit balances out the bright acidity of sour beer to make it a more enjoyable drink! Yeast and bacteria do their fermenting jobs better with thesugars from the fruit.

A fruited sour that is TOO sourshows that there may be improper blending or too much bacteria in the brew.

Major Styles Of Sour Beer

American craft beer may often be divided into sour or fruited sour, but the following are the traditional styles of sour beer:

Lambic

Lambic is an exclusive name, just like Champagne. To be considered lambic, beer should be from the area surrounding Brussels, Belgium.

It has a slightly hazy color and ABV of 5% to 6%.

  • With barley and raw wheat, lambic is brewed through a turbid mash to produce dextrinous wort.
  • Aged hops are added to the wort and heated for hours, which produces the bitter character and preservatives for the brew.
  • Spontaneous fermentation occurs when no yeast is added directly to the brew.
  • The mixture is then left to cool down in the coolship, a big open-top vessel. It is left to collect whatever wild yeast and bacteria it may from the environment.

The brew ferments more as wild yeast and bacteria ingest its sugars and dextrins. This continues to happen for years with the brew barrel-aged.

Straight Lambic

This type of lambic is unblended. It usually tastes flat, funky, and sour like cider. It displays the house character of the brew.

Gueze or GUEUZE

This lambic is a blend of 1, 2, and 3-year-olds. It is typically acidic and highly carbonated.

Fruit Lambic

This type of lambic is blended with fruit. It exhibits fruity tartness in its brew. Examples of this are kriek or cherry lambic and framboise or raspberry lambic.

Flanders or Flemish Red

This sour beer is brewed in West Flanders, Belgium.

The color can either be red or brown, and its sourness is similar to that of balsamic vinegar.

Flanders red ales are aged in foeders, which are large wooden tanks. The oakiness of the foeders complements the sweet dark malts used in this brew.

Berliner Weisse and Gose

Berliner Weisseis Berlin’s version of wheat beer.

Tart beer, including Berliner Weisse, was common to them throughout history and had a mild sourness and low alcohol.

Goseis from Leipzig, whose local water has high salt content. This water creates the brew, resulting in sour and lightly salted beer.

American Sour Beer

This style is America’s takeon Europe’s long-existing sour beer.

It started only in recent years, but it combines traditional and modern executions to create new sour beer types.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some common questions on sour beers and our answers to them.

Are Sour Beers Real Beer?

Of course! Sour beer is a beer style with distinct acidity, tartness, or sourness. It is a MUST-TRY for any beer connoisseur.

Are Sour Beers Good for You?

Yes, but they should still be consumed in moderation.

Because of its fermentation process, sour beer can be beneficial to the health by providing stress relief, immunity boost, and digestion support.

They should still be consumed in moderation because they still contain alcohol, after all!

Are Sour Beers Strong?

Generally no. They usually have 3% to 5% ABV, similar to the usual beer styles.

Their ABV can go very low at 2% or high at 9%, depending on their brew style and conditions.

Is Sour Beer Gluten-Free?

They can be! Some breweries make gluten-free sour beers such as:

  • Raspberry Pride of Neff Brewing, Oklahoma
  • Glutenberg Gose of Glutenberg, Canada
  • Tart Cherry Sour of Burning Brothers, Minnesota.

They are still beer and are typically made from the same grains, such as malt and wheat.

Is Sour Beer Healthier Than Other Types of Beer?

Yes. Unlike the other types of beer, sour beer contains live bacteria like saccharomyces, lactobacillus, Brettanomyces, and pediococcus, which can help in some bodily functions.

Summary of Top Picks

Let us have a run-through of our best sour beers.

Best Budget: New Belgium Brewing Sour IPA

This sour ale is affordable because it is available in many locations nationwide.

You will not have to book any plane ticket just to get a hold of this sour!

From the makers of Voodoo Ranger, Sour IPA is accessible but still guaranteed to be flavorful. This hazy drink bursts with bright acidity, tropical aromas, and juicy notes.

Did we mention that it has 7% ABV to give you what you came for?

Best Value: Sierra Nevada Wild Little Thing

The brewers of our favorite hazy IPA, the Hazy Little Thing, have come up with its WILDER version, appropriately called Wild Little Thing.

This best American-style sour beer is reasonably-priced and sensibly filled with 5.5% ABV.

It tastes of tart juice with notes of guava, hibiscus, and strawberry. Its sourness is balanced out by the hop bitterness found in the brew.

The Sierra Nevada can pack all this complexity of characteristics into one bottle that stays at a price point within reach.

That is indeed value for money!

Best Overall: Brasserie Cantillon Fou’ Foune

Withstanding more than a CENTURY’S worth of competition in the craft beer world, Cantillon stays true to the traditional Belgian lambic brewing.

The authentic lambic Fou’Foune that is exclusive to Belgium continues to have a strong footing in the world of sour beers.

Its firm standing is maintained even amid colorful new brews worldwide!

This traditional sour beer balances its assertive acidity with its smooth mouthfeel and fizz. All this is beautifully garnished with its uniqueapricotnotes.

Conclusion

Nothing beats the classics.

Regarding the sour beer that stands out the most, the Fou’ Founefrom the 1900-brewery Brasserie Cantillon is top of mind!

It’s no surprise the Fou’Foune continues to exist up to this day!

More than this, it is still used as a standard rule for sours even with thousands of interpretations already available after more than 100 years of beer history.