Wild Wisconsin: An impending surge in sour brews

Madison Craft Beer Week 2012, round 1

Anniversary Sour from Red Eye Brewing Company of Wausau (right), on tap at The Malt House during the 2012 Madison Craft Beer Week. Photo by The Conscientious Omnivore (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

As I’ve mentioned on numerous previous occasions, I fell in love with sour beers several years ago. Thankfully, I’m not the only one, as output and sales are growing across the country and here in Wisconsin.

As we get further into 2014, we’ll be seeing the arrival of new sours from Wisconsin’s craft brewers. Last week Isthmus beer columnist Robin Shepard took a look at the exciting happenings at O’so Brewing and reviewed their Winds of Change, a sour APA. And last month, Shepard’s Isthmus colleague Kyle Nabilcy encouraged readers to “savor the sour.” He offers a brief primer on sour beers and their recent history in the US, and then takes a look at Wisconsin’s near future:

Both New Glarus and O’so of Plover have brand-new coolships, and both brewers are, unsurprisingly, planning on expanding their sour programs.

O’so brewmaster Marc Buttera has plans to open a new brewing facility, and the path to that goal is lined with 750mL bottles of wild and sour beer. “I would love nothing more than doing all funky beers,” he says. “That’s actually the direction our brewery is going to take.”

Buttera has teamed up with Levi “Funk Factory” Funk, an aspiring gueuze purveyor, to release four new beers on Jan. 24 at the O’so brewery. Three are sours of limited quantity, hewing to the traditional lambic process “as close as you’re going to get here, in this state.”…

2014 stands to be a strong year for sour beer production in Wisconsin. Beyond the O’so releases, there should be a collaboration on a wild ale from Grumpy Troll and Sweet Mullets, and both lambic-style beers and beers fermented with the wild yeast Brettanomyces from Madison’s own Vintage Brewing.

Head here for Nabilcy’s full piece; also check out Shepard’s Wisconsin craft-beer 2014 preview here.

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