The Terminus Hotel didn't let a flood warning stand in their way of celebrating the first weekend of summer. The team kicked off the summer drinking season with Sour-Off, their latest installment in the popular Craft Beer Showdown series. The event featured ten breweries from Victoria each pouring a signature sour beer. (And braving some torrential rain out in the beer garden.)
Representatives from around the state cheerfully poured samples of their creative beers in a bid to win the people's choice award, plus a three month tap contact at the Terminus. The cracking line-up included Wolf of the Willows Brewing, Hop Nation, La Sirène Brewing, Old Wives Ales, 3 Ravens Brewery, Holgate Brewhouse, Moon Dog Craft Brewery, Sailors Grave Brewing, Temple Brewing Company and Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company.
The sour beer style has been gaining momentum in Australia. The tart, fruity, and refreshing flavours resonate with cider and wine lovers. For beer aficionados, the beverage provides plenty of flavour, but without the palate fatigue that can accompany bitter, hoppy beers.
Wolf of the Willows brewed their ‘thirst quenching’ Acidulous with the summer season in mind. As owner Scotty McKinnon remarked – ‘sour beers really suit salt, sand, and sunshine.’
Hargreaves Hill aims to create a beer for every occasion. Instead of a G & T, how about a gin barrel gose? This sour was aged in Four Pillars Gin barrels and ‘dry hopped’ with additional botanicals including candied orange peels, juniper, and cassia bark.
3 Ravens brewed a ‘summer smasher' named Acid (complete with the brewers decked out in acid-wash t-shirts and tie-dye.) This festival style ‘gateway drug' might be enough to convince non-beer drinkers to pick up a tinnie.
Temple Brewing's Okinawa Sour derived its flavour from the Shikuwasa fruit. It's a cross between a lime and a tangerine and is believed to contribute to the residents' longevity in Okinawa. It also appears that Temple is the only importer of the island's ‘elixir of life' in Australia.
La Sirene served up Cuvee de Bois 2016 and claimed second place in the People's Choice awards with the barrel aged treat. They created a blend with 2013 barrel aged beer, fresh beer, and Chardonnay grapes. The result was complex and layered with bright, tart grape characteristics along with oak and buttery flavours.
Barrel aging also served Holgate well with a third place win for their Wild Red Ale. This beer spent 18 months in pinot noir barrels and is reported to only get better with age.
Emerging victorious by a wide margin was Sailor's Grave. This new brewery from regional Orbost is known for incorporating local produce into their beers. Previous brews have included everything from carrot seeds to sea urchins. To create their ‘Peach Melba Pavlova Cream Sour' the crew used 200 kilos of peaches, nectarines, and raspberries. Unbelievably, this beer delivered on its promise of pavlova in a glass with its sweet, creamy flavour.
Sailor's Grave was the people’s choice champion. Although the 3 Ravens crew also aptly noted that ‘beer was the winner’ at the Sour-Off.
Jenny S loves the magic of fermentation and supports local craft beer alchemy.
Follow The Terminus Hotel for future beer fun times. 492 Queens Parade, Fitzroy North VIC 3068