what: D9 Brewing Company’s Systema Naturae (5.5 percent ABV) and Superstitious Pigeons (5 percent ABV); $12.99 each for a four-pack
These beers are American wild ales, though the brewery and fans of these types of beer call them “sour ales” or “sours.” The term “wild” is used because these beers are fermented with a wild yeast (instead of a brewer’s yeast) and bacteria that are not normally used in brewing. The wild yeast and bacteria produce high acidity and dryness that impart the sensation of sourness. Most craft brewers use fruit additions to add flavor and complexity and to tame the high acidity and the odd flavors produced by wild yeast.
The latest beer in the Systema Naturae series, through which Cornelius, North Carolina’s D9 Brewing Company seeks to explore “scientific processes and ingredients exhibited throughout the natural world,” is a well-made wild/sour ale. The acidity is high but well controlled, probably by blending with less acidic beer. The acidity gives the beverage a refreshing tartness, and the addition of cranberries and sumac (the featured ingredients for this entry into the series) provides tasty flavors of that balance the flavor profile. With a tame ABV, this is a perfect happy hour beer.
Just for fun, I tried Superstitious Pigeons because it is brewed with peanut butter and raspberries. The layering of flavors was astonishing, with initial acidity giving way to over-roasted peanuts at mid-taste with raspberry in the finish. Candidly, I thought the beer was silly and a waste of the brewers’ time and my money. Cheers!