There are a lot of great beer cities across the US. Denver, San Diego, and Portland, Oregon get most of the hype, but there are a few up-and-comers that are hot on those cities' tails. Like Asheville, North Carolina.
The city has got 17 breweries and counting, plus an exploding food scene that takes full advantage of the sustainable, local, and mouthwateringly good ingredients from the scenic surrounding area. There are all kinds of award-worthy taco joints, bistros, farms, taprooms, bakeries, and chocolate shops that make up the city's bustling food & drink scene.
And even with stiff competition, one of the brightest stars of the city is Wicked Weed Brewing. They crank out a range of burstingly flavorful brews from hop-packed pale ales to yeast-driven Belgians to bright and nuanced sours, with lots in between. Their brews are highly regarded and even more highly coveted — the bottle release of their Red Angel sour ale drew a huge line and lots of hype online.
This particular offering is a sour beer that's been given a big dose of dry-hopping, making it a kind of IPA-meets-wild-ale hybrid.
A hazy orange-yellow without much head.
There's a lot of fruity aroma here, like mango and peach, plus a really funky yeast note.
Woah. That's sour.
The tartness hits you right away with a bright pop of lemon and grapefruit-y flavor. Beyond that, there's some barnyard-y funk from the wild yeast. There's a touch of floral hop flavor and bitterness on the back end, but it's definitely dominated by the sourness. If you didn't know that this dry-hopped, you probably wouldn't pick up on the IPA aspect.
Dry and crisp.
If you like sour beer, you'll love this. If you don't, it'll probably be too intensely puckering for you.
It's got a ton of interesting tart flavor from the citrus-forward hops, red wine barrel-aging, and massive amounts of acidic sourness. The ABV is terrifically well-hidden, too — this is 7%, but you'd never know it.
The bitter IPA aspect doesn't really shine through as much as you'd hope it would, so this ends up being more like a very good sour ale than a unique, blow-your-mind hybrid creation. But if you're into sours, you'll definitely dig this (and probably the rest of Wicked Weed's impressive lineup). The bursting tart fruit, musky yeast, and tiny bit of hoppiness meld into a really delicious brew.
Want some? If you're in the Asheville area, plug in your zip code here to see where it's available in your neighborhood. If you're located elsewhere, start planning a vacation and be sure to bring an empty growler.