The story of pH1, craft beer’s most prolific sour beer barrel

Image courtesy of The Rare Barrel All of the barrels and foeders in our wood cellar have an interesting story, or at least a funny name. But the tale of pH1, a former wine barrel, stands alone in its epicness. And, as of this past week, the barrel’s embarking on another adventure as it settles into its new home at The Rare Barrel in Berkeley, Calif. The story of pH1—at least the part of its journey that involves craft beer—began in the late 1990s, when we first started experimenting with sour beer. As one of the original seven barrels we used to play with wild cultures, pH1 was something of a blueprint for the future of our now extensive sour beer program. It also proved time and again ...
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Inside look: New Belgium’s sour beer collab with The Rare Barrel

Did you hear we’re doing a Beers with Vrienden collaboration sour beer with our friends The Rare Barrel? It’s true, and we’re pumped to share the details. Above is a video we pulled from our live Periscope broadcast, featuring New Belgium blender Lauren Salazar and The Rare Barrel’s Jay Goodwin and Alex Wallash (note: we normally don’t film vertically, but those are the limitations of Periscope). In it, they spill all the details about the beer, called Err on the Side of Awesome, including: What kind of blend they’re gunning for? How one of the barrels being used (called pH1) once accidently became a Russian River barrel Alex’s interesting connection to New Belgium Where you’ll be able ...
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NPR: Brewers Are Churning Out Tangy Sours Without The Hefty Price Tag

There's a pretty cool piece out today from NPR's "The Salt" on how craft breweries are putting out a higher volume of sour beer with the use of kettle souring in stainless tanks, a technique initially used for making German-style Berliner weisses and Goses that employs Lactobacillus bacteria to sour wort in a matter of days (as opposed to the sometimes years it can take with barrel-aged sour beers). Here's an excerpt from the piece: “Kettle-soured beers use some of the same critters as traditional sours to achieve a crisp, sharp tang: bacteria of the Lactobacillus genus, which munch on the sugars in beer and convert them into acids, while also turning out flavors and aromas. Some brewers ...
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