Where The Wild Things Are

OBSCURA – dark or shadowy, obscure, from unknown origins

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Photo Credit: Justin Stark

Move over hopheads, the wild ones have taken over. For anyone new to the wild world of sours, the two-session event on Saturday, May 7th featured the latest in experimental ales, courtesy of Telegraph Brewery’s Obscura line. Opening its doors to their extended beer family, this intimate affair was for the cicerones, the beer geeks, the sour freaks.

Started in 2011, their barrel-aged and wild-fermented brewing program has created a distinctive lineup of pet projects, experimental mishaps, and creative fun for Owner Brian Thompson and his staff. Some beers were recurring, some were never be seen again, but all distinctive. Pucker up…

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“Sour beers are attuned to looking for complexities, an emerging beer that is palette cleaning, refreshing, and unexpected,” said Owner, Brian Thompson. “We are excited to express our creativity in every batch.”

Lively and conversational, the closed sessions showcased small projects, with 12 rare beers in total. Three ounce pours enlivened palettes and spirits, as sips turned into shrieks and animated high fives.

Thirsty already? Read on for my Top 5 Selections…

Sour Power – Top Five Wild Ales

Reserve Wheat Ale mit Schuss (with syrup)

Gold medal-winning Berlin-style sour wheat beer (Berliner Weisse), served in the authentic Berlin tradition (“mit schuss” as they say in German) with a choice of raspberry syrup or herbal woodruff syrup. Known as the “King of the Woods,” this herbal syrup is incredible, a popular flavor in any German kitchen.

“We are inspired by spice, food, music, traveling – inspiration comes from everywhere,” said Thompson. We are actively trying to push the limits of what people define as beer and tell those stories.”

The Endless Sky

Sour wheat ale, aged in a single Pinot Noir barrel with house sour culture, and dry-hopped with Hüll Melon and Centennial hops, with aromas of ripe berries and honeydew melon. Like a sour IPA, the dry finish with a palate cleansing bitterness pairs nicely with the tart flavors. As one friend proclaimed boldly – “it’s like a competition in your mouth.”

Are you Experienced?

Sour saison, aged in a bourbon barrel with house sour culture and a ton of raspberries and blackberries. Fruity in the aroma and flavor, with all the complexity of a farmhouse ale. HAIL SAISONS!

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Chris Thompson, Assistant Brewer, pouring “Another Day in Paradise” – a session favorite.

Another Day in Paradise

Sour blonde ale, aged in a single Pinot Noir barrel, and infused with a variety of tropical fruits, including guavas grown in the brewery parking lot. By far the crowd favorite, nothing says “local” like your own backyard. Incredibly refreshing, the tropical notes took me right back to Southeast Asia…to awaken in our own paradise.

Gose A-Go-Go Version 2.0

German-style sour ale brewed with sea salt and infused with bourbon-soaked cocoa nibs, vanilla, and coriander. With a sweet tooth and sour infinity, this beer brings the best of both worlds together. A perfect beer to cleanse the palette, the light sweetness paired beautifully with the fragrant coriander.

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UNIQUELY CALIFORNIAN – Owner, Brian Thompson

“If everything you try works, you are probably not pushing the limits enough,” said Thompson.

Dog friendly, kid friendly (even pizza friendly)…Dia de Las Obscuras truly came alive with great vibes. Until next year…may you learn one thing…that the sweet is never as sweet, without the SOUR.

Taste. Trek. Travel.

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