Each and every year it seems like a certain style of beer rises above the masses and becomes the hottest ticket around. This year, sours have, in my opinion, laid claim to that title. While sour ales have been around for centuries, the recent uptick in varieties available has made for an exciting year. On the the heels of last weekend’s sold out Avery Brewing’s Sour Fest (click to read about Denver Post’s Eric Gorski’s favorites!), we ventured up the twisty, windy road to Paradox Beer Company to sit down with Jeffrey Airman, brewer extraordinaire, to see what they had up their sleeves.
It was a rainy, overcast Sunday, but the Paradox barrel room was hopping with people. As Jeff told me, the reception for their beers has grown rapidly, almost exponentially, with fans clamoring for more and more. Paradox makes beer that is “style-inspired” where the barrel time can add complexities and intricacies that change the final product in an excellent manner.
A series of sours
Each month or so, the guys up at Paradox release another one of their Skully series of sour ales. Ten variations deep as of yet, each individual release has ventured into waters very few have sailed before. From Skull No. 7’s smoked malt quality to Skully No. 8, a fine example of a “dry-hopped-sour” (and also the basis from which we pondered about regional styles), to Skully No. 1, the peach lambic that started the series, each and every beer has had its own identity while also strengthening the Skully brand.
Most recently, Stone Brewing released their latest Enjoy By series, set to expire on our nation’s July 4th celebration, but I am more excited for what Jeff and the guys up the pass are releasing.
Thankfully, Jeff gave me the rundown on their patriotic contribution for this year:
Each bottle will be one of their brand new, 500mL bottles, wax sealed with special labels unique to each of the Skully Series. Each is dipped in red, white, or blue wax, corresponding to the beer that resides beneath.
The red will be a Flanders Red inspired beer, which Jeff says had to age for a year to achieve the level of tart sour they were looking for. It’s an old, dry beer, with many complexities, and because of that, they will not be blending it down with any younger beer. Expect this to be a wonderful lambic blend of flemish yeast and bacteria.
Next up is the white waxed bottle. Paradox was inspired by the older versions of bier blanche, or witbier, where the style exhibited a low level of tartness. They’ve aged it on tangerine peels and grains of paradise, with thoughts of completing the beer with a secondary fermentation on tangerine juice, but that hasn’t been decided yet. Expect a nice refreshing beer that will blow the socks off Snapshot Wheat and Blue Moon, while also delivering a very unique experience one would expect from a Paradox brew.
Finally, as teased by Paradox’s social media, emerging from a martian-esque landscape, the blue-wax bottle will house a blueberry sour. They cooked down the blueberries, pureed them up and allowed the beer to swallow them up. Supposedly the beer went from an almost skin-tone to a very blueberryish hue during its aging. Expect a Cascade Barrelhouse-style beer with the amazing blueberry flavor along with a wonderful sour backbone.
Each of these will be available by the end of June, so you can enjoy them while the phosphor burns in the skies above. Personally, I’ll be getting a six-er of them, with a set to put away until next year. Keep yourself updated by checking their Facebook regularly, or follow Jeff on instagram!
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