Sour Beer Fest: A President's Day Tradition
Updated: Mar 9, 2021
The year is 2013 and it’s a cold January morning. We’re standing in a line that's probably 40ish people deep. I’ve got piping hot coffee in my hand, although I usually do so that tells you nothing. Ahead of us, maybe 20 ahead we see that guy in shorts in January, you know the type. We tweet about it and he tweets back! The line builds and builds to at least 100 by the time the doors open. We flood in the door, where we find that the shorts guy has saved us two seats next to him at the bar. This was our first Sour Fest at Max’s Taphouse in Baltimore. The friend who stood outside for 60 mins with me is Miranda, and that guy in shorts is now our friend Dan. This has been our tradition for the past 7 years…oh wait.
Sigh, no of course there was no Sour Fest this year, and to be honest Miranda was pregnant for the previous two, and sometimes Dan has to work because it’s on a Monday. But I haven’t missed Sour Fest since I discovered it. I let Pat come with me the years that Miranda and Dan weren’t available, somewhat begrudgingly. He’s never allowed to order though. He doesn’t know or love sours the way I love them like Simon loves Daphne. I get sours and good ones get me. It’s such a fun event. You order four 5 oz pours at a time until you can’t take it any more. They have around 120. You eat delicious frites with aioli and grilled cheese sandwiches and after you get an ice cream cookie sandwich.
It’s a tradition. A tradition I was not going to let the pandemic take from me. So I called in my team waiting on the bench to fill in for Miranda and Dan. I headed to The Perfect Pour in Columbia and River Hill Wine and Spirits in Clarksville and I picked up 24 sour beers and I typed up a list, just like Max’s (the list is missing three beers). I made tasting sheets (normally we’d use Untapped). I got all the supplies for epic grilled cheese and fries. We had to substitute the ice cream cookie sandwiches in lieu of our King Cake as it was also Mardi Gras. But we were doing this!
And we did. Over two weeks ago. I haven’t written anything about it yet because I am currently staring at 18 tasting sheets with 4 beers a piece. Frankly, I am not sure where to go from here. Sometimes blog posts write themselves and other times I hem and haw and it’s a fight to figure out how to express my thoughts, feelings, and of course occasionally facts. So I told you my little story about our first Sour Fest, my feelings about it being cancelled and Miranda consistently being pregnant, and of course my pandemic pod who jumped in to sub. So I guess what’s left is the facts. Here’s how I am going to do this. I will go over each person’s favorite and least beer with a few quotes here and there. Hopefully you can find one you’d love to try.
Top: Dewey Beer Company, Secret Machine Juice, Fruit Beer 7%, 5 stars
Backstory, this was actually purchased the previous year at Sour Fest as a gift for Miranda who was “sick” that day and never took it because she was actually just pregnant. Her loss! This beer has vanilla, raspberry, peach, and marshmallow fluff. Yep you read that right. It’s “fantastic.“
Bottom: Equilibrium, Little Adjunct Integration, Pale Ale with Lactose 5.5%, -1 stars (she refused to stick to the rating system entirely)
“Awful, acidic marshmallow fluff!” Interestingly her top and bottom had marshmallow in them.
Top: Lindermans, Cassis, Black Currant Lambic Beer, 4.5 (they just don’t listen sometimes)
How has Paul never had Lindermans? Query unknown, but he loved it. “Delicious from start to finish.”
Bottom: Silver Branch, Squeegee Can Man, Imperial Fruited Sour 8.2%, 2 stars
“Gross, but people are different.” He must have written this because I gave it a 4. It was a weird key lime beer with a salty kick. I get it man, it’s not for everyone.
Top: Flemish Art of Brewery Duchesse De Bougogne, Flemish Red 6%, 5 stars
You have to respect that he chose the Duchesse. She’s of OG of sours, brewed in the style of the Flemish monks. “So good, not fruit, sweet.”
Bottom: Baltimore County, Raspberry Flamingo, Sour Ale 4.7%, 1 star
He had a few ones, but on this one he wrote “DON’T LIKE.” Apparently, grapefruit and raspberries don’t mix for Pat.
Top: Hysteria Brewing Co, Brew’em Hops-ups, Apple Cinnamon Fruited Sour 6%, 4 stars (I rarely throw around a 5)
This beer was a tart cinnamon pop-tart and I thought it worked. Unsurprisingly, others didn’t find it as good, but I thought it was super fun.
Bottom: Idiom Brewing Co, It’s The Berries, Fruited Sour 5.8%, 1 star
Too many berries guys. Sorry but this was “trying to be something and failing.” It had quite a tart finish.
It was a super fun event, with delicious food, excellent company, and a mess load of beer. We kept our samples small so we could really taste and enjoy what we liked without overdoing it. If you check out the beer menu and you have questions or want feedback on other beers let me know. For our grilled cheese we had Sourdough toast, with Gruyere, sharp cheddar, and Havarti with prosciutto. Our frites were made in an air fryer topped with feta, thyme and rosemary. There was a lemon garlic aioli for dipping. Yum Yum Yum.