Some see sours as craft beer’s hottest commodity. And although we agree that wild ales have become increasingly popular, the extent of their emergence is more sobering…But in spite of all the buzz, we don’t expect them to be surpassing the America’s IPA anytime soon…just sayin.’
And here are some reasons why…
Sour Beers Can Be Polarizing
Clearly more people hate them than love them…And we don’t use the word HATE casually. Who hasn’t seen someone grimace when tasting a sour for the first time?
The sour taste is sometimes, almost instinctively, associated with spoilage and there are some who will never be able get around that.
Sour Beers Aren’t Exactly Refreshing
They might be complex and interesting…and even more fun to pair with food. But many view beer as a refreshment first…and sours aren’t that.
It’s not like you crave a Berliner Weisse when you’re at the ballpark, or working in the yard.
Sour Beers Don’t Taste Like ‘Beer’ As Most Know It
Imagine the taste of beer right now…If you imagined a sour taste, you’re lying.
For many sour beers will always taste foreign, closer to ciders and even some wines, than traditional lagers or IPAs. And fair or not, that will remain a barrier to sour beers’ mainstream acceptance.
And while we get that sours have historical roots that reach back to brewing’s earliest days, most people don’t view drinking beer as an academic exercise.
Sour Beers Are An Acquired Taste
Like jazz, classical music or Bulgarian films, sour beers are generally a niche taste that is generally learned and cultivated. Some people have the time and the interest for that…others not.
The more the public is exposed to them the better the chances that they will learn to appreciate them. But as with jazz, classical music or Bulgarian films fewer will honestly learn to LOVE them.
The Market For Sour Beer Remains Comparatively Small
Sour beers sold around 45,000 cases in 2015. And that number that grew to 245,000 cases in 2016 according to Bart Watson the Chief economist for the Brewers Association. So clearly the sales of sour beers are growing.
But let’s keep things in perspective…
The marketplace is the ultimate arbiter as to what’s truly popular and to what degree. And sour beers, though increasingly more common, are still reportedly “dwarfed by better-known craft styles, such as IPAs and lagers, which sold around 14.5 million cases last year.”