Little known in the brew universe but cherished by connoisseurs, sour beers are decidedly more tart and acidic than standard fare. This one from the Brewery at Bacchus is a wild ale — that is, one that sours and ferments based on whatever bacteria or yeast become dominant in the funky primordial stew in which it develops. It’s a multi-step process that involves seemingly unlikely ingredients like Seyval Blanc grape skins, as well as six months of aging in oak barrels. Bottled with a red wax seal, the one-of-a-kind result, technically called a “mixed culture sour ale,” has notes of Cabernet, black currant, tobacco, and chocolate— and, yes, it is truly a beer.
“In my preview post for the fest, I predicted that the Brewery at Bacchus (New Paltz) would be a highlight. I was wrong: they weren’t just a highlight, but the best. Indigenous sour ale, spontaneously fermented on grape must and aged in barrels for months, solidified its place as a world-class sour beer. Word spread quickly, and I heard mutterings of its growing legacy all over the festival. With one of the best IPAs I’ve had in the state, an exceptional dry-hopped sour ale, and a hibiscus saison rounding out the options, it was no surprise to see the Brewery at Bacchus with one of the longest-lingering lines at the festival.”
“At Tørst, we tend to love beers that are creative and unique, and sour beers of all stripes are a house favorite. Bacchus is a small brewpub in New Paltz putting out some incredible sour beers. Very small amounts occasionally make it to NYC. I’d recommend searching them out!” — Mike Amidei, beverage manager, Tørst
“I’ve always enjoyed good beer, but I hadn’t really brewed much until one of my good friends opened up this brewery in Western Massachusetts and needed help,” says Conor. “So, I started working with him over at the Stoneman Brewery, and he really took me under his wing and taught me everything.”
Conor was introduced to many breweries and brewers through his friend. “Everybody had some sort of insight to pass on, and I was just a willing student,” he says. When Conor first started at The Brewery at Bacchus, he immediately put beer into barrels so it could age.