Local fans of sour beer, the sometimes tart, sometimes funky style of beer that’s pretty much all the rage these days may want to go ahead and mark March 27 on their calendars right now. The venerable Cambridge Brewing Company, one of the best brewpubs in the Boston area or even the state, announced Friday it will host its first ever Sour Fest later this month.
Sour beer – beer fermented with strains of Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, and Pediococcus bacteria to impart a unique tart flavor – has gained legions of fans and buzz lately.
As popular as it’s become, sour beer is still a fickle beast. There are a handful of things that can and will often go wrong during the brewing process, but Cambridge Brewing Company’s brewmaster Will Meyers has shown they’re a force to be reckoned with. The style has long been one of CBCs fortes, but this will be the brewery’s first night wholly dedicated to it.
As it is, there’s a veritable treasure trove of beer stored beneath CBC; barrel-aged relics from years gone by are tucked away in what the brewery refers to its “beer catacombs,” and a handful of those special kegs will see the light of day on March 27.
While the full taplist hasn’t been posted, it’s almost positive that one – if not multiple – vintages of Cerise Cassée – will be poured. Cerise, one of CBC’s most well–regarded beers is a total mouth-puckerer that’s aged on 300 pounds of sour cherries before its laid down for a nine-year rest in French oak wine barrels. Each year, Meyers checks in on the beer and samples each barrel (there were 10 to pick from this year) to find the perfect blend.
While Cerise will likely be the fest’s crown jewel, at least 11 other beers will also be tapped. We can only hope that some of our favorites from yesteryear, like Ship of Fools, a sublime Flanders red ale, and Honey Badger, a lambic brewed with honey that debuted at Beer Advocate’s Belgian Beer Fest in 2011, will make an appearance.
We’re also crossing our fingers that some of the brewery’s more easy drinking sours, like the pleasantly tart Mellow Gold, the refreshingly Brett-heavy Jack Straw, and the limited (only 100 gallons brewed) Rye, Rye, Rocco show up to help provide a balance to the really sour palate punchers.
If we’re really lucky we’ll get the one-two punch of Kriek du Cambridge and Rosé De Cambrinus, two beers fermented with cherries and raspberries, respectively. Both beers haven’t been seen on tap in about three years and when they were available, they weren’t on long.
Unlike CBC’s slightly chaotic Great Pumpkin Festival — the brewery had to implement a ticketing system last fall because its grown so popular — it sounds like the Sour Fest will be handled in a similar fashion to CBC’s Barleywine Fest: No tickets and no cover charge. Craft beer fans will just have to pay by the beer.
Sour beers were called “the ideal food beer” in February’s Bon Appetit magazine so fest-goers should get excited that CBC Executive Chef David Drew is planning to roll out a special menu that night to complement the beers.
It’s still too early to know exactly what he’s planning or what beers will get poured, but those looking to learn more about the fest can head to the brewery’s site or the Facebook event invite.
[Photo: Stephan Segraves/Creative Commons]