If you’re tuned into the world of beer, you may be aware of sour beers — a loosely defined style that has been made for centuries but is gaining fresh appreciation in today’s craft beer renaissance. Brewers make these beers by deliberately adding bacteria and, sometimes, wild yeast to the brew, then letting them age slowly. It sounds weird, but sours can be delicious — tart and earthy, and redolent of things like leather, fruit and wood.
They’re also very hard to make, requiring months or years of letting the beer gradually mature in the cellar. And all the while, brewers must take extra precautions to prevent the souring microbes from bursting out and contaminating the rest of their nonsour beers — a major logistical hitch and expense. That’s why some brewers refuse to make sours: They’re too much trouble. And those who do make them sell the beers at high prices, often $5 or $6 for a dainty 6-ounce sample.
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