A companion response to Alcohol by Volume’s: sour ales and where to find them

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ABV put out a wonderful post this morning to a subject very close to my heart: The journey down the road of Sour Ales

To add in for the “& where to find them” part of the title – and bear with me if you think I am spouting sacrilegious babble – I do have proof to back up these claims.

Don’t get me wrong I always love to support my local Mom and Pop Shop, but honestly  for items like this, nine times out of ten, I have always had the most luck hitting the bigger chainish bottle shops.

Unless you are going to a smaller shop with a great beer selection / manager I find that you would be lucky to find anything other than the sweetened Lidenman’s Lambic’s. Of my local shops I can only think of one with a sour selection (and honestly it is a fantastic selection so I have no complaints)

The big places generally buy them by the case (or 2) and honestly most people will probably pass them over – and they sit, and sit for a while. While this is a death sentence for IPA’s and other drink them fresh beers, It is the perfect setting for Sours.

They aren’t going to get light stuck, and being bottle conditioned (for the most part) some extra age to them is never a bad thing. Unless they are leaving them right out in direct sunlight I doubt you will get burned on a bad bottle.

So basically you have almost a perfect world, bottle of sours that have some extra age to them, selling for the same price, or less than they were originally marked for. Generally you may to see the smaller places charging more for the aging (or for the bottle to begin with), another perk of the big guys buying in bulk.

Lately I have been able to grab several year old Gueuzes as well as Brands that have not been available in my area due to the Distributor pulling out of the state over 1.5 years ago, in fairly high quantities.  all this from a place right off a major highway and from the outside looking like an industrial building.

Some times you might need to look in the dusty corners of the bomber wall, but sometimes they are staring you right in the face.  Like anything else it depends on the shop, while they may be chains they are run completely differently.  I have been in some that looked like something out of a Vegas Casino’s bottle mart ( high-end class to the hilts with a great price)  to another a few miles away that looked like it was a hole-in-the-wall truck stop bath room.


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