Sour IPA started to become “a thing” around 2016, but even still the style hasn’t picked up so much steam that it’s found on every taphouse’s list. Being that it’s an unusual style, it’s pretty likely that many folks out there, even avid beer drinkers, haven’t tasted a sour IPA before. Reading up on the style, we found that brewers were discovering that, as paradoxical as it may seem, the best way to add fruit flavor to beer wasn’t to add fruit to the beer… but to do their best to highlight the fruit character of the hops instead.
Using the same technique used to produce a kettle sour beer, sour IPAs get a punch of acidity that highlights fruit flavors without actually adding any whole fruit. In kettle sours like Lean Mean Tangerine, Barebottle Brewing Company adds actual tangerines into the beer during fermentation. But that’s not the case, for example, with Barebottle’s Mosaic Sour Drip IPA. Hopped with Centennial, Mosaic and Citra, you would expect a solidly bitter, floral, citrusy beer in the West Coast IPA family. Even the color of Mosaic Sour Drip, a deep clear amber, is reminiscent of the West Coast style.
But this beer’s flavor is something else entirely.
Immediately sour, and to the point of even giving you that back-of-the-jaw pinch, it brings none of the strong floral and bitter flavors usually associated with the three hops used to create the brew. Even as it warms, Mosaic Sour Drip is fruity, light, refreshing and only just slightly bitter.
Though there is some zest from grapefruit and oranges added at terminal, there is no whole fruit in Mosaic Sour Drip. And yet… it tastes tantalizingly fruity. If you’re a fan of sour and IPA, this is a marriage you just have to try.