A Toast for the Summer // Red Currant Sour Ale

Hey hey hey! What are you up to this mid-August Saturday? I thought I’d take the time to remind everybody that summer’s not over yet – so let’s have a beer or two to celebrate what must be objectively the best season of all four of them. I say objectively since I’m not sure whether I might even like winter better… But let’s not talk about that now!

It’s not only summer, but the best part of the summer, when the forests and gardens are filled with berries! Perfect to pick and eat as they are, or to use for cooking, baking, decorating… or flavoring beer!

Red Currant Farmhouse Ale

Today I won’t be sharing a recipe, as this isn’t one of my creations. These beers are on my brother, who’s very much into craft beers and home brewing these days. He’s been experimenting with different styles of beer, from my all-time favorite IPAs to darker, stronger stouts and porters, and more recently the trending sour ales and farmhouse ales. Flavored with berries, wild herbs, and different spices, they are all to die for. Don’t mind trying out the results every now and then!

I was amazed the first time that I tasted one of my brother’s home-brewed beers. If my memory serves me right, it was a slightly stronger IPA, no special flavorings. But what surprised me was how it didn’t lack any of the flavor of the store-bought equivalents. Quite the opposite, I’d say! At the time no special equipment was involved yet, he just made do with whatever he was able to find in the house. Now that he’s been on this for… well, I don’t even know how long, he’s stepped up his game a little bit. All sorts of fancy equipment have come into play, as well as the aforementioned flavor experiments.

This time we received tasters of red currant sour ale – really appropriate for the late summer season!

Red Currant Farmhouse Ale

As I poured it to glasses, it had a thick, white head, that would have lasted a long time, had I not filled it up a few times during the photoshoot to make the presentation nicer. Turns out foam breaks when you keep pouring small amounts of liquid over it… Also, I was trying to look for a word for the color – I thought I had an extremely good color vision and vocabulary, but I just can’t think of the perfect word to represent that color! It’s not exactly amber, is it? Definitely not orange. Perhaps something in between, or like a pinkish amber? Let me know if you can think of the proper word. Nevertheless, it’s pretty.

And it tastes just as refreshing as it looks! According to my brother, it’s a light summer ale, with an ABV of only 5,9%. Well, I must say when I heard him first talking about a light summer ale, I was expecting something between 2 to 3 per cent, but I’ll take it. As it turns out, it is just that – light, crisp, easy to drink and just the type of beer I would grab if I was sitting in the garden or a sun deck of a downtown restaurant, enjoying the August heat.

Red Currant Sour Ale

If you’re wondering about the ‘farmhouse’ label on the bottle cap… apparently what happened was that he was set on making a farmhouse ale, but the end result resembled more of a sour ale. I agree, though; farmhouse ales have a lot more earthy, hay flavor – many times too earthy for my taste. You definitely get a hint of that flavor here, as well, if you make sure to get all of the yeast into your glass, but otherwise it’s much fresher-tasting, tart and juicy. And if you’ve come across any of my smoothie recipes, you know that tart flavors are just my thing. The juicy feel comes from the red currant, which is very much present in the flavor. Combined with the sourness of the ale, the flavor becomes almost grapefruity.

So now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to lay down in the grass with my beer and chill! I suggest you do the same – enjoy the summer while it lasts!

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