The New Brew Is Sour Beer

It’s not what it used to be, and it’s making a comeback.

Six years ago, Patrick Donagher put sour beers from the legendary Belgian brewery Cantillon on tap at his Manhattan bar, the Jeffrey.

“I had five of the best sour beers on the planet,” he says, “and nobody fucking drank them.”

No wonder: “Sour” back then was what we called a Natty Light lost in the back of the fridge; super-hoppy IPAs were the beer geeks’ obsession. But now they’ve discovered the advanced complexity of sour, an ancient brewing style utilizing little-known yeasts. “Everyone’s going crazy for them,” Donagher says. Rookies should start with the deep-red Rodenbach Grand Cru, which balances tartness with malt and fruit, and then graduate to the barely sweet Cuvée des Jacobins Rouge.

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Photos by AnaÏs & Dax