The other day a new beer was released. A kettle soured beer with some fruit in it.
And for the last 12 months that sentence is probably true in every maturing beer market. Maybe they are labelled Gose, or Berliner Weisse, or maybe just Sour (a term alone that raises the hackles of beer lovers for whatever reason). And recently I found myself turning my nose up at these releases. Thinking “oh great, another bloody light, easy drinking, tart beer with some random fruit in the secondary”.
Then I thought about it some more… and realised that yes, in fact, I would very much like to drink that beer. Regardless how it’s made, or how “easy” the process is when compared to the great lambic or wild ale producers. Regardless how little beer geek cache they really have, and regardless of how popular they are with noobs. I realised that I find 90% of them pretty tasty. Sure some are susceptible to some creeping off flavours but if I was honest, I couldn’t remember the last one I had that was truly messed up. No more or no less than other styles on taps.
The treatment of these beers as being inferior and passé purely because they don’t have extended barrel ageing and complex combinations of yeast and bacteria is akin to saying you shouldn’t go see a $5 band at your local pub because there are better bands out there. Or standing in the crowd booing and telling people “you know they only practice like once a fortnight? They have only been together for 4 weeks. You know that right? Have you heard of these other bands? They have been together for MUCH longer. BOOOOOO”.
Yep, we get it. kettle soured beers are relatively easy to make. And yep, they aren’t really a complex experience full of layered flavours and nuance. That doesn’t really bother me. And I don’t really see why it bothers anyone else. Their existence shouldn’t undermine the existence of other beers.
As trends become ubiquitous there is often a tendency for drinkers to become unnecessarily contrarian. IPAs ARE everywhere, cans AREN’T a magic package, and kettle soured beers ARE easy to make. But if you put a kettle soured IPA in a can, I’ll buy the shit out of it.