Fair State’s Lactobac series
Sour beer is no longer the oddity within the beer market that it once was. When I first wrote about sour beers, I got several messages from people, shocked by the availability of sours in the Twin Cities compared to other areas.
One of the area’s newest breweries is churning out hands-down the most impressive sour beers in the Twin Cities. If you’re a co-op member or merely a frequent visitor, of course you know I mean Fair State.
Some of their sours are consistently available, one favorite being Cromulence, a sour wheat ale with lemon and orange zest. The hazy yellow glass and incredible tart citrus aroma set this beer apart in the sour world – it delivers the elements of both fruit and wheat in an incredibly balanced way. Rather than coming across a a Sweet Tart, the sour element is actually very refreshing.
On a more rotating basis, the Lactobac series has garnered a dedicated following, and I sometimes overhear beer fanatics comparing notes in hushed voices as though disclosing a secret family recipe or trading baseball cards discretely: “But have you tried the sour stout?”… “My favorite is number five.”
The series gained momentum at Winterfest earlier this year, during which the second beer in the series, made with Hibiscus, turned heads and coaxed even the most sour-phobic palates. Since then, several of the beers have reinvigorated old, forgotten styles and pushed the boundaries of flavor combinations, such as with the sour stout.
I enjoyed the most recent edition, made with blackberries, earlier this week. The fruit is far more present in the berry jam aroma (and appearance) than in the taste, but its subtlety is very much welcome. There is a back of the mouth fruitiness and a moderate degree of sour, meaning it will not wreck the palate or leave drinkers reaching for Rolaids. I recommend Cromulence and Lactobac Seven with a side of darts or a pretzel from neighboring Aki’s BreadHaus.