A tolerance for bitterness is probably what everyone means when they speak of beer being an “acquired taste”. When you get past that, drink through everything IPAs have to offer, sour beer is the next frontier. We innately associate bitter flavours with dangerous poisons and sourness with spoiled beer (though the latter connection probably isn’t as hard-coded by evolution). It’s worth developing an appreciation for the style of sour ales (that are that way by design and not because of spoilage) not just for the notoriety but also because they are delicious and pair excellently with food.
If beer-writing gods were really on my side I would have been able to write about the Rodenbach first and the Panil second. They are both in the same Flemish sour ale style (though Panil is made in Italy), but the Rodenbach is lightly tart and makes a better introduction for newcomers to the style than the funkier, more complex Panil. (more…)