Four beer trends
Find your new go-to brew in one of these up-and-coming beer varieties.
Tue Feb 15 2011
Photograph: Beth Levendis
Interlude (Allagash Brewing Company)
American wild ales
American craft brewers are drawn to extreme, boundary-busting styles, so it's no surprise that they've embraced wild ales. Taking cues from a family of sour Belgian beers, these mad-scientist creations deploy funky yeasts and bacteria during fermentation (or sometimes during the aging process) to bring out offbeat flavors, such as mouth-puckering tartness and horse-blanket mustiness. Like stinky cheese, these ales are as challenging as they are charming. Those who stick around past the initial shock are treated to beguiling undertones—champagne-like crispness, refreshing tang and natural sweetness from fresh fruits (including peaches and cherries) that brewers use to complement and round out the sourness. Rumblings in the beer community are growing louder about the wild ale being the next IPA. Our advice is to get on board now.
Three to try:
Interlude (Allagash Brewing Company) A stint in oak barrels that once contained red wine smooths out this Maine brew's sour flavors. Available at Fourth Avenue Pub, 76 Fourth Ave between Bergen St and St. Marks Pl, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-643-2273). 25oz bottle $30.
La Roja (Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales) This amber ale mingles with yeast strains that drift through the air, transforming it into an earthy delight. Available at Rattle N Hum, 14 E 33rd St between Fifth and Madison Aves (212-481-1586). 25oz bottle $21.
Apricot Ale (Cascade Brewing) The Belgian tripel is dosed with souring bacteria and left in a French oak cask for more than a year. Next, it's fermented with ripe apricots, resulting in a tart-sweet double punch. Available at the The Stag's Head, 252 E 51st St between Second and Third Aves (212-888-2453). 25oz bottle $25.