by Sandy Maxwell
In my line of work, I meet people who love sours and those who hate them. It seems to be a polarizing style where there is no opinion in between.
But the Thirsty Dog Sour Haus crew are making some of the most approachable sours out there, while staying true to the traditional processes of brewing.
I walked into the little brick room, formerly the site of Aqueduct Brewing, and was greeted by the delightful and pungent smell of yeast and fermentation. It was breezy and comfortable inside despite a hot summer day. Surrounded by friendly conversation and palpable enthusiasm for the beer, my fellow drinkers and I agreed that the scene felt more like a gathering of friends than a bar.
There were five taps flowing that afternoon, so I started with a flight of four. Logically, my first sip was Haus Boss, the first beer brewed at the Sour Haus. With a light, almost lemony acidity, this beer is an easy drinker. It’s a great introduction to the style and gives the novice a good idea of what to expect.
Next up was Gose with Peach. Brewed like a traditional gose with coriander and salt, this beer was soured in the kettle and then peach puree was added. The exceptional balance of saltiness and fresh peach flavor make this one go down quick. I finished my sample in two or three sips, looked at my glass and immediately thought, “I need more of this!”
The Open Fermented Pale Ale is one I think any beer drinker will enjoy. It has such a complex and pleasing aroma that I actually sat there smelling it for two or three minutes before I even took a sip. Citra hops add a tropical scent and the yeast funk is somewhat muted on this one. It’s a pale ale with a twist.
Ah, Berlinerweiss with Watermelon! Summer in a glass. Imagine eating a slice of fresh watermelon, then salting the rind and taking a big ol’ bite out of it! With all those bold flavors going on, the wheat still shines through on this one, giving it a solid body. I was told that after hand-juicing all the watermelon, the brewers had a great time smashing some melons with sledgehammers, Gallagher-style. Proof can be found on the brewery’s Facebook!
Joe Lero and his crew of brewers are clearly enjoying what they do. This comes through not only in the finished product but the atmosphere in which you’re drinking it. Joe says they have plans to add some live music soon, and they’re working on bottling some of their flagship sours. He’s also aiming to visit some local farms and actually hand-pick fruit to use in the beer.
Sour Haus is currently open on Fridays and Saturdays from 4-9 pm, which is in part to ensure that one of the crew will be there to talk with the guests. They love to talk about their passion for brewing and get feedback and suggestions from the crowd. Upcoming brews include a dry-hopped sour, a key lime/coconut sour aged in rum barrels, and a trappist-style table beer. So I say: Open your mind to the world of sours! The Sour Haus truly has something for everyone.
529 Grant Street, Akron
Fridays and Saturdays, 4-9 pm
Sandy Maxwell is a shift supervisor at Lizardville Beer Store and Whiskey Bar in Copley. She loves beer, whiskey, kayaking and pretentiously complicated progressive metal.