A Brief History of Sour Beer
So, what exactly does it take to craft the tart, often brightly colored beer that's blossoming in popularity? A few bugs, and bit of luck.
Before the advent of refrigeration and advances in the science of fermentation in the mid-nineteenth century, almost all beer was, to varying degrees, sour. The culprits were pre-modern sanitation and poorly understood, often naturally occurring bacteria including Lactobacillus and Pediococcus, as well as Brettanomyces yeasts, which can contribute a hint of tartness and characteristic “funky” flavors and aromas, sometimes compared to leather, smoke, and “horse blanket.”
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