Over the past few years, Everybody’s has developed several sour ales. These have proven so popular that we now offer a rotating sour series. Recently, our Passion Fruit Sour Ale was honored with a gold medal in the American Sour Ale category at the 2022 Best of Craft Beer Awards!
Now in its eighth year, the Best of Craft Beer Awards has grown to be the third-largest professional brewing competition in North America. The private, international competition is held each winter in Central Oregon (Redmond/Bend). Everybody’s Brewing was one of 482 breweries from 49 states, provinces, and countries that accounted for a total of 2721 distinct beers submitted across 56 award categories.
The most popular styles entered continue to be American-Style IPAs (160 entries) and Hazy/Juicy IPAs (160 entries), but there were myriad submissions for smaller categories (there were 60 submissions for the American Sour Ale category). Fellow Washington brewery 33 Brewing Experiment (Vancouver) received the silver medal for their Mezcal Gose, and the bronze medal was awarded to Pyres Brewing Co. (Minneapolis) for their Royal Raspberry Sour.
Everybody’s Brewing was founded on the notion of offering “something for everyone”, typically focusing on accessible beers designed to please a variety of palates. However, after 13 years of business, experimentation and innovation are vital to keeping us relevant, and we are never afraid to attempt less-common styles that our customers desire.
Sour ales have become increasingly popular, with some breweries closely mirroring the traditional German gose style, and others creating new versions by implementing non-traditional techniques and ingredients (such as dry-hopping or introducing various fruits).
Head Brewer Dave McGinley took time out of the frantic spring brewing schedule to discuss Everybody’s approach to sour ales, and how it feels to be a gold medal winner!
Everybody’s has developed an array of sour ales, and we now offer a year-round rotating sour series featuring everything from Prickly Pear to Mango Tamarind. Why did Everybody’s decide to allocate resources to sour ale production?
The new style of sour ale using various fruits has really increased in popularity. The heavy market demand allows us the luxury of playing around with many different flavors. These fruited sours are fantastic in warm weather and can be more thirst quenching than an IPA.
Are there particular types of fruits that lend themselves to use in a sour ale?
Most fruits work well in fermentation, but will perform differently based on their sugar and acid content. If you want a very sour beer, passion fruit and guava are very acidic and tend to be the tarter of the beers that we produce. Peach and mango are sweeter and cut some of the tartness. Fruit doesn’t have to be involved in a sour ale, but they sell much better when it is!
How involved were you in creating the Passion Fruit Sour Ale recipe?
About a year ago, the brewers got together and made a base malt recipe that we can use for all our fruited sour beers. We have made many sours in the past, but all of them were a little different. Working from previous recipes and our personal preferences, we decided on this malt bill. This year, we increased the amount of fruit in most of the sours, and that change has been well-received.
Have you attempted a sour ale that just didn’t work? Is this style more challenging to make than some other styles?
This style has more steps than a standard beer, and uses a combination of yeast, bacteria, and fruit, all added at different times and temperatures. There is a larger range for error with these added factors, so the require more attention than other beers. We found out the hard way that lemon puree will not allow our yeast to ferment and must be added at the end. That made us create a more uniform system to ensure success down the line.
Why do sour ales tasted spoiled or tainted to some people?
Sours are beers with a blend of yeast and bacteria. Our sour ales only use lactobacillus, which creates an interesting fermentation profile. Other bacteria can create a wide variety of flavors that may be off-putting to some people. Like many delicious beer styles, sour ales may be an acquired taste, but they reward the effort!
How does it feel to take home a gold medal in your first year as Head Brewer? Was there anything in the judges’ tasting notes that surprised you?
It feels great to get the gold and to know that we made a beer that other people like as much as we do. We have a strong crew that made this possible through all the care they showed along the way. Judging notes are always interesting reads, and show you how people can interpret the same beer differently. For example, one judge said that there was too much fruit flavor, but another said that there wasn’t enough. Everyone seemed to enjoy it overall, though!
While the season for our Passion Fruit Sour Ale is at its end (don't worry; it'll be back next spring!), you can enjoy one of the other delicious sours in our rotating sour ale series that share the same recipe profile:
- Pink Guava Sour Ale - available now through May
- Mango Tamarind Sour Ale - available May through June
- Apricot Sour Ale - Available June through July
- White Peach Sour Ale - Available August through September
- Prickly Pear Sour Ale - available October through November