Originally Posted - Saturday, January 23, 2010
Sometimes when you least expect it you run into something that changes your expectations. A couple of weeks ago Brad and I attended the Big Beers, Belgians, and Barleywine festival in Vail. If you’ve never been, it’s a very small intimate festival, lots of great seminars, and an eclectic mix of breweries and beers. I love festivals like this, it not only gives me a chance to recalibrate my palate with beers I’ve had before but to try new and experimental beers. I have to say I do have a bias, usually I hit the bigger breweries at the expense of the small guys. My friend and fellow Siebel graduate Jeff Albarella had just started working at Carver Brewing Company so we stopped by early to say hello. Jeff immediately told us we have to try the El Oso Agrio. That first sip was completely unexpected. This was no ordinary sour beer. The aroma was a strange mix of watermelon, calvados, wood, red wine, bourbon, and a whole lot of things I can’t begin to describe. The flavor is the same, sour but not over the top like many examples, more of an oak aged cellar quality but different than any sour beer I’ve ever had. Evidently, that beer started out as a Barleywine before some being put into barrels to sour sit on fruit. This took it in a whole new direction. Definitely a hidden gem I was happy to find.