Bennett on Beer: “I can’t wholly recommend the Crate sours”

crate bennett on beer

The sour beer is having somewhat of a renaissance in the beardiest parts of the world. In Seattle, the craft brewers serve sours in tasting flights, like whiskey, which show the vast range of these concoctions. Sours, range from fruity to bitter, dark brown to off-white, and come from nearly everywhere beer does.

The fruit sour, in particular, raises eyebrows. The description – some fruity sweetness, with a sour note – sounds more like the tangy Haribo gummi bear than a beer.

But at Hackney Wick’s Crate Brewery, the fruit sour is making headlines. I tried two, the Forest Fruits sour and the Lemon Gose, which are relatively alike. Both have an initial fruit flavour, a touch of sweetness, and a sour aftertaste.

It’s the inverse of sour candy, which is just sweet with some construct masquerading as citrus added, and the whole thing is subtle and complex. The difference is purely in the fruit, which is used to add the ‘fruitiness’. The lemon flavour was better as its natural citrus gelled to create that sour aftertaste.

It isn’t unpleasant, at least at first. The sour is definitely a flavour, not a sensation, and it doesn’t punch you in the back of the mouth the way pure lemon does.

The problem is that over time, the sourness becomes dominant. You lose the sweetness in it, and the unusual thickness of the brew becomes cloying. While a taster glass portion is delicious, a whole can becomes a trial.

I can’t wholly recommend the Crate sours, but I can recommend the Crate brewery. I also tried their American Nut Brown, a refreshing brown ale. The environment at the brewery is top notch, with a beer garden bordering a picturesque canal.

There are a huge variety of fruity beers out there to explore. And I suggest that you do explore them. But be aware: sometimes, a sip goes farther than a gulp.