The Brewer’s Art: Charm City Sour Cherry Ale

Pint glass of Brewers Art Charm City Cherry craft beer“Here – you’re my beer guy – try this one,” said Keith, the owner/chef of Dandelion Bakery Bistro, a lovely eatery with a burgeoning craft beer menu.

The pint glass he handed me was Charm City Sour Cherry Ale from The Brewer’s Art in Baltimore. 

As the name suggests, it’s a light, sour cherry beer. Sour beers are typically lighter, and feature fruit. Unlike most modern beers, sour beer is brewed (at least partially) within an open container. They’re brewed using the same process, but by leaving the lid off during fermentation, it allows “wild yeast” and other microbial friends to find their way into the beer and reproduce. 

Sounds a bit sketchy, right? Just think of it as making cheese. For example. something like Bleu Cheese has that pungent flavor due to the air-drying and aging process. With cheese, this can take several weeks or months, but is much shorter when brewing beer. The end result, however, is quite similar.

To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of sour beers (though I’ll eat whole lemons…), but I was certainly happy to try a new one.This one pours a beautiful dark pink, with good carbonation, and a light, 4.5% ABV alcohol content.

The aroma was s very much a bitter cherry smell, which made the presence of the naturally sour Montmorency cherries well known. 

You definitely get that sour cherry flavor, though it’s not overly sour or fruity, and the sourness tends to linger a bit in your mouth. I also got a little bit of a bread flavor, and a subtle maltiness. 

My initial thought was, “I wish this was sweeter,” but after drinking a bit more, I was glad it’s not. As it is, it’s a nice balance of letting the fruit flavor come through the sourness of the beer without it tasting like battery acid (as can some sours…).

Definitely a good intro into sour beers, though the hardcore sour fans may find it to be light on the puckeriness of it (is that even a word??). 

Got a sour you think we should try? Let us know!

Cheers!

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