Visual: Dark apricot to gold with a darker reddish centre. A rim of white bubbles for a head.
Nose: Tart. Acidic cider. Brambles. Twigs. Slight sulphur. Slight bubblegum. Blueberry pie. Dried apricot.
Body: Tart. Quite dry. Slight cardboard. Sour lager characteristics. Lemon in a sherbet style. Ribena. Slight cherries.
Finish: Lemon juice. Slight oak. Dry blueberries. Slight cardboard. Lager like notes. Sour cherry sweets. Slight menthol and slight vinegar.
Conclusion: Ok, unlike a lot of sours, this really doesn’t do too well if you chill it down. While the aroma still had a lovely mix of fruit, cider acidity and light wood notes, the body initially came in very lacking when chilled. It felt like a sour lager with very little fruit character. Now, I mean the idea of doing a sour lager is an intriguing proposition, and I have no idea if it could actually work if done right – but here it was not that great, and also not what I was looking for in this beer.
There is a sherbety lemon style to the beer though, which leads into tarter lemon juice flavours – so it wasn’t entire lacking, but at this point I was feeling severely let down by the beer.
Time and warmth does bring out a bit more – some blueberry finally comes out – a bit more funk and oak as well. However this does remind me of something I touched upon recently. Often the most commonly used fruit for sours – the raspberries, cherries, etc – are picked because they work well. Blueberry isn’t super rare, but it definitely isn’t one of the standbys – and this beer feels like the reason why. There is some blueberry character to this as it warms, but even like that it doesn’t bring enough flavour to hide the soured lager like flavours below. This is especially a problem in the finish, and hurts the beer a lot. The body shows through a lot with this fruit, and it doesn’t have a a high quality enough body to make that work.
Warmed up more it does have moderate sourness, and kind of a cider character, but nowhere near enough a solid enough base to be deep and worth examining, and with not enough fruit to make that special.
A bit sub par – not terrible, but, especially considering the cost of this, you can get far better. Feels a too petite beer does this sour.
Background: Never tried any Crooked Stave – if this beer is anything to go by they tend to be quite expensive. Anyway, this was another one grabbed from Independent Spirit -other alcohol providers are available. You don’t see many blueberry sours in my experience – blackcurrant is not uncommon (or cassis I think it is called for Belgian sours) – but not blueberry, so I thought I would give it a go. Drunk while listening to some epic, over the top, theatrical metal with Evil Scarecrow!