From the Beer Writer: Last year, San Diego’s longest tenured Post-Prohibition-Era brewing operation, Karl Strauss Brewing Company, earned big-time bragging rights, being named the Mid-Sized Brewing Company of the Year at the most prestigious brewing competition in the country, the Great American Beer Festival (GABF). Held annually in Denver, Colorado, the competition garners thousands of entries from breweries in all 50 states (so many that, this year, each brewing location is limited to a maximum of four competition beers). Those ales and lagers are evaluated by high-caliber industry professionals and certified judges to ensure reliable results, lending deserved credibility that ups the value of GABF medals. Karl Strauss’s champion designation came as a result of winning four medals in 2016, including a gold in one of the most hotly-contested style categories—American-Style Sour Ale. That went to Karl Strauss Queen of Tarts, a stallion in Uncle Karl’s sour stable that has been refined over the years and comes on strong with assertive tartness given luxurious body and layering care of heavy oaken toastiness. Next weekend, Karl Strauss will attempt to repeat at this year’s edition of GABF (check our site next Saturday for a list of local award winners) and this beer will surely be among its entries, but it doesn’t need precious metal to register as a winner on the palate. Head to the company’s tasting room or any of its five local restaurants for a taste of certified gold.
From the Brewer: “Queen of Tarts is our dark sour ale with lightly roasted malts, dark fruit flavors and a nice, tart finish. We age it in American oak barrels with Michigan tart cherries for six months. It’s always been a favorite around the brewery, and we were stoked that the GABF judges loved it as much as we do. We feel very fortunate to have had such a great showing at GABF last year and to be recognized for beers across a wide variety of styles, especially to take home the gold in such a highly-competitive category as [American-Style Sour Ale]. It really shows the versatility of our team of brewers.”—Paul Segura, Brewmaster, Karl Strauss Brewing Company
In April, we provided a look-see at Belching Beaver Brewery’s Oceanside production-brewery. In addition to housing a 30-barrel brewhouse, bottling line, plenty of cans and cold-storage, the facility is also home to a variety of barrels. Those oaken receptacles are the domain of Peter Perrecone, who came to Belching Beaver from 100%-wild operation Toolbox Brewing Company last August, and is now in charge of his current employer’s sour-beer program. He produced quality tart ales at his previous gig, so there has been ample anticipation of his next-generation sours, the first of which go on sale Saturday, August 13 at Belching Beaver’s Oceanside tasting-room (1334 Rocky Point Drive, Oceanside).
A sampling of Belching Beaver Batch 1 took me back to Perrecone’s previous work. An American blonde wild ale aged nine months in French oak red wine barrels, then aged an additional two months on 525 pounds of fresh raspberries, it was profoundly sour (read, saliva-inducing tart) with an abundance of fruit flavor. It paired nicely with a summer day and, at 6.71% alcohol-by-volume, it was substantial enough to take the place of an IPA, especially in a 500-milliliter bottle (most sours come in small 375ml bottles or far-too-ambitious 750ml glass). It’s a promising start, and the beer is currently available at Belching Beaver’s Oceanside tasting-room.
Future offerings from the brewery’s barrel-aged sour-beer program include…