Word to the Wise: Sour Ale Releases

Lost Abbey just put out their Red Poppy Ale to some very off-putting reviews. Many people reporting swampy and pond water like aromas. I was able to taste a bottle of the 2012 alongside the 2011 version, and while age certainly played a role with a beer that has been cellared for a year, the 2012 bottle was vile that even with conditioning, the swampy nose would be hard to overcome. The release date was pushed back to allow the bottles to condition, but if you look back enough, you’ll notice a common theme among sour ale releases in San Diego and resultant variations among vintages.

Alpine released Chez Monieux Belgian Kriek ale, and while it was on tap at the pub and tasting rather delicious, reviews out of the bottle have not been as flattering. The release for this beer was also delayed and pushed back to allow the bottles to further condition and develop more souring qualities. BeerAdvocate has a total of 61 reviews for this beer with an overall rating of 88, or “good”. Of the 61 reviews, 10 of them are of the newest 2012 vintage (16%) though, so time has not yet judged this recent batch in its infancy.

Lost Abbey had a similar thing with the 2010 batch of Cuvee de Tomme. The release was pushed back a few months and too was not up to the standard of other vintages. I’ve personally only had one tasting of the 2010 version, so I’d be ignorant to judge. Just reporting what I’ve heard.

This may or not be anything, but just a recent topic of conversation when I hosted a bottle share this past weekend. With sour ales costing so much money: $15 for the 375mL bottles of Lost Abbey, to $25 for 750mL at Alpine Beer Co., it is maybe best to dip your toe in and have a taste before jumping in and making a purchase rather than solely buying the beer on reputation or hype alone. Warning though: people will line up and buy this beer regardless, but that is just the crazy beer scene of today.

Manny O.
(The Younger)!