Two of the most valuable and time consuming sections I wrote for American Sour Beers didn’t make the final cut, and I couldn’t be happier!
I updated and greatly expanded my list of commercial sour/funky beers that contain viable bottle dregs. To do this I talked to staff at dozens of breweries to get the information on what categories of microbes (Brett+Bacteria, Brett, or Bacteria) are in their bottles. While this information is valuable for harvesting microbes for isolating or repitching, it will also give you a hint of how these beers are produced.
Some brewers prefer a bit more control and repeatability in their souring process, so I also compiled a list of the microbes and blends available from labs (and collected by hobbyists). I tried to include every blend and isolate of wild yeast and bacteria on the market today, but it is tough with so many small yeast labs popping up. I tried to include notes on the strains I have experience with. It is relatively easy to isolate new strains, the real work will be in determining which strains are valuable, for what, and under what conditions!
Why am I so happy that so much of my hard work was cut? Because, in both cases the information is likely to change and expand over the coming years. As pages on the blog, I can keep them current, rather than leaving them as static sections of the book. There are so many new sour beers and microbes coming onto the market though that neither will ever be comprehensive, but I’ll try! If you’d like to dispute anything, or offer additions, please leave comments on the respective pages.
Next week I’ll be at the National Homebrewers Conference in Grand Rapids, presenting on “The Influence of Mashing on Sour Beer Production” (look for a video on a future episode of Chop & Brew). While I'm there I'll also be talking to James Spencer (for Basic Brewing Radio), and signing copies of American Sour Beers (the AHA pre-sale is on soon, and the book will be available at the conference)! Also listen for the premier of my spot on The Brewing Network during their live show this Sunday.