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Is this the best sour beer in America?

The New York Times names 2014 Cascade Kriek best sour in America. Calls category “immature.”

 

The New York Times’ food and wine critics gathered with a couple of practicing beer experts with the goal of gauging the current state of sour beer in the US and naming the best sour beer in America. Their findings? While sours have a ways to go overall, there are some very bright examples helping to lead America towards the funky side. The best sour in America — according to The New York Times — is Cascade Brewing’s 2014 Kriek.

The Times did a similar tasting in 2011 when sours first really made an appearance on the scene. They note that while five years ago they struggled to find 20 American entries to test (ultimately tasting 13 from the US and 7 from Belgium), 2016 provided quite a multitude of offerings. Cascade won the 2011 tasting as well with their 2010 Kriek. Both versions received the coveted 4-star rating, the highest possible.

The best sour in America

So, what did the panel say about Kriek?

According to the experts, the 2014 edition was “bright, lively, tart and distinctive, with beautifully balanced flavors of sour cherries and citrus.”

What did they say about the 2010 Cascade Kriek?

“Lively, complex and gloriously tart and sour, balanced by cherry and savory flavors; highly refreshing.”

What do we have to say? It’s just another confirmation of the Portland-based sour powerhouse’s consistency and mastery of such a difficult style that is booming in popularity along with the entire craft beer industry.

What about the rest of the field? Well, The Times gave high marks to Evil Twin’s Mission Gose and made special mention of the “pleasantly strange” character of Sierra Nevada’s Otro Vez Gose-Style Ale.

How good are American sours?

However, the panel felt that the sour programs in America are “immature” overall and they “can afford to wait for the other brewers to catch up” to their favorites from the tasting. Which leaves us asking: “what about all the ones you didn’t try?!”

While the rest of the world has a head start on us the US is putting out some damn fine funky beers, and we’re damned fortunate to be able to serve them to you.

Whether they’re sour, Gose-style, Gueuze-style, wild or a Flanders-inspired brew, you can find some really amazing, well thought-out and composed beers. Breweries such as Jester King in Texas, Wicked Weed in North Carolina, The Bruery in California or Allagash in Maine have all found strong strides with their sour/wild programs. So, how one could say that America’s sour beer category is “immature” leads us to think you just aren’t drinking enough beer.

We encourage you to do your own investigation at your local Saucer. You may even be able to find a nice bottle of Cascade Brewing Kriek to sip, taste, share and make your own judgment as to whether it’s the best sour beer in America. We can hardly guarantee it will be a 2014 bottle, but you can trust that any Cascade is going to make you pucker up and love it.

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