This should’ve been called Dia de las Sours 2015.
On May 3, Santa Barbara craft beer lovers, both connoisseurs and amateurs, gathered together to taste the 10 special, experimental, sour, and/or wild beers by Telegraph Brewing Company. In such a cool warehouse brewery with refreshingly sour beer, it’s no wonder people stayed past the session times.
Three particular beers stood out for me. The Framboise Palo Santo is a sour ale aged with house sour culture, raspberries, and South American Palo Santo wood chips. Aesthetically remarkable with the color of blood orange and taste of sour peppermint, this beer left a strong, Christmas-y impression. The Roble Obscura is a farmhouse ale aged in a bourbon barrel with a certain yeast, typically found in Belgian beers, also used by brewers such as Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, and others. For having an alcohol content of almost 11%, it’s fairly light. And the Johnny Parker has been aging in a small barrel for 1.5 years with, of course, house sour culture and fruits. I tasted grapefruit, and this beer is what I’d call “extreme” sour.
The other beers poured that afternoon included the Obscura Confundo, which was aged in a pinot noir barrel with a red wine must; the Barrel-Aged Reserve Wheat, a Berliner Weisse-style ale aged in a red wine barrel; the ¡Demolicion Dos!, a dark ale aged with blackberries; the Obscura Estancia, also aged in a pinot noir barrel; the Sourdough Bread Project, brewed with locally grown and malted barley and aged with Santa Barbara sourdough levain; the Indigenous Yeast Project, fermented with locally captured strain of wild yeast; and Surrounded by Ghosts, is a wild ale fermented with Brettanomyces and soured with Lactobacillus.
The one thing all these beers had in common — besides the sourness — was the refreshing taste. The Roble Oscura should be available in bottles soon, so you can try that yourself. Altogether, Dia de las Obscuras was a sweet afternoon filled with sour beer.
See telegraphbrewing.com or visit the tasting room at 418 North Salsipuedes Street.