Greetings beer aficionados, Brandon here with a recap of some of the events from ABQ Beer Week! It has been a while for yours truly, since a hectic schedule of work and school has occupied all of my time recently, but thankfully my schedule lightened up just in time for this week of festivities. When Beer Week comes calling, you answer the call like a beer-soaked viking rushing into battle against an army of beers … well, you get the picture.
The first Friday night of ABQ Beer Week brought us lots of events, so I made it my mission to partake in one that paid homage to a style of beer that doesn’t get much love: the sours! Back Alley Draft House played host to the Tower of Sour, offering four distinct styles of sour beers on tap; whether your palate leans more toward the sweet or sour end of the spectrum, you were probably going to find one that you enjoyed. Now, I will admit that sour beers are a style I’m not usually accustomed to, as they are minimally available on taps around town. Most craft beer fans I come across in general have minimal experience with the style as well; they can’t be blamed, as it is a somewhat specialized style, often needing fresh fruits to help achieve the sour notes that are its trademark. But I am happy to report that there were some hidden gems on tap that I found to be refreshing treats!
Back Alley had a great deal for a flight of the four sours and a 10 oz. pour of your favorite one for $10, so naturally I was sold. The first one in the flight that I tried was Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour. With a light amber/orange hue, it was not overly aromatic, but possessed some fresh qualities with subtle hops. Taste-wise, this was quite light and refreshing, leaning more towards the sweeter end of the spectrum of flavors. The sour did finish in the back to help balance it out, though. Overall I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed something of this style; I would definitely indulge in more of this, it’s a great summer beer!
Next up, I sampled the Petrus Oud Bruin. This one was certainly more complex, but I still thought it was well-balanced. It has an appearance of a deep amber beer, something like an Irish red, perhaps. The hops actually mingle well and accentuate the sweet/sour notes present in this one, and is a bit more bold in flavor. The aromas seemed to pop more after each sip; an enjoyable brew that has a lot going on, I’d call this one a sour for the thinkers.
Moving on, next up was the Petrus Aged Pale; now this was not my cup o’ tea at all. The aromas were pleasant, with citrus notes and aromatics from the yeasts present. But flavor-wise, this was on the extreme SOUR end of things; quite yeasty, heavy carbonation and bone dry, with the dryness almost on a champagne level. There was a lot of tartness there with nothing to balance it out; it was definitely a complex blend of flavor profiles. Overall, it was not my favorite, but other patrons seemed to enjoy it.
Last but not least, I sampled the Petrus Aged Red. Now this was a welcome surprise, as it is brewed with fresh cherries and I have not quite enjoyed the beers I’ve had with cherries in the past. The Aged Red was wonderful, though; cherry aromas, slight hop spices, and a hint of vanilla in there as well. The flavor is well-balanced, with big cherry tartness and natural sweetness as well; the malts lend a nice, creamy mouthfeel for this one. It is a rich beer that does give a slightly sweet aftertaste, but it was not overwhelming for me at all. This was by far my favorite of the four!
Indulging in my goblet of the Petrus Aged Red, I got a chance to talk to some readers and other patrons, many of whom were sour fans who came out to indulge in a uncommon tapping of four unique sours in our fair city. For the patrons who were giving the sours a chance for the first time, the reviews were positive as everyone seemed to enjoy what Back Alley had to offer.
Another successful ABQ Beer Week event is in the books. We will see you at the next one so make sure and come say hello at any events!
Until next time …
— Brandon Daniel