A Blog about Thijs de Vries

A blog

Monk Cafe Sour Brown

So I had the great pleasure of trying Monk Cafe Sour Brown yesterday at the Dirty Truth in Northampton, MA. For those of you who don’t know, the Dirty Truth is an awesome little bar in Northampton which has one of the best beer selections I’ve ever seen. They have a wide selection of beers on tap and they server food. They are starting to become one of my favorite bars in the area.

Anyways, back the the beer I was trying. I’ve had lambics in the past and never could get over how sour they were. To me a lambic just does not taste like a beer, it is sour and has more of a wine like taste. This made me reluctant to try the sour brown but I was curious on how the darker malts would impact the taste.

I ended up being pleasantly surprised. Though the beer is a tad sour, it is by no means overbearing. It has a very nice malt sweetness to it and has an excellent wine like flavor. I highly recommend that everyone try a sour brown if they can get there hands on it, even if they have been scared away by lambics in the past. Lambics and sour browns are similar in that they use wild yeast to ferment the beer. This causes the beer to take on a more sour taste than beer that uses cultivated yeast.

I am hoping to try and make my own wild beer. I am debating if I should cheat and pick up some wyeast which has a nice blend of wild yeast and bacteria or risk it and try to cultivate yeast from the air. Now that spring is rolling around, it becomes the perfect time to try a wild brew. In the summer you have the difficulty of having to much Acetobacter which will just turn your beer into vinegar. I may try to make a starter outside but I’m afraid wild animals will get to the starter. I feel I should wait for a good week of clear weather so the starter does not get rained into. I will probably use cheese cloth to keep the bugs out.

I have never done this before but I’ve always wanted to use wild yeast. I may start out with an extract batch so that if it turns out to be a complete example, I know I would not have wasted too much time brewing beer. Anyone have any sour brown recipes?