The Delicate Balance of a Misunderstood Beer Style: The Sour IPA

The Delicate Balance of a Misunderstood Beer Style: The Sour IPA

Oh IPAs… a world with so many possibilities, flavours and complexities, with one thing in common: A duckload of hops: Red IPAs, Cold IPAs, West Coast, New England, Belgian, New Zealand, Brut, etc!

One style that is especially divisive is the Sour IPA. Sour IPA is a somewhat new style that has gained popularity over the last decade. Some people put its origin in the early to mid 2010s in Colorado, through New Belgium Brewery with hopped sour Ales like ‘Hop Tart’ or ‘Le Terroir’, and some people include California with Almanac Beer Co. and their Hoppy Sours.

Nowadays there’s only a handful of breweries recognised for brewing and absolutely nailing the style, and within those, Hudson Valley Brewing from New York is the one that stands out the most.

The thing that has makes this style so divisive is the balance. Bitter and Sour most times do not get along, so in many attempts to make a Sour IPA we’ve seen a clash of flavours that leaves many disinterested.

Sour IPAs combine the tartness of a sour with the hoppy, fruity softness of a hazy IPA (mostly NEIPAs, which have lower bitterness). What sets sour IPAs apart from other IPAs is the addition of acidity, typically through kettle souring and fruit additions. Some even have lactose and other adjuncts, closer to a Milkshake IPA but with the underlying sourness.

Luckily for us Hudson Valley have made an artform of this style, and we’ve included an incredible example of this style in out latest edition of Hop Quest for you to enjoy!

What to explore Sour IPAs further?

Shop Carwyn Cellar's full range of Sour IPAs and explore this polarizing style!

Photo by arianka ibarra on Unsplash

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