Sour Safari is the first MobCraft beers to be offered in four-packs of 12 ounce bottles.
Sour Safari, a red ale aged in oak barrels, is the first release in a new four-pack product line for MobCraft. And it's among eight different sours in a new line of beers that MobCraft calls Sour Stash.
What is it? Sour Safari from MobCraft
Style: This beer is a Flanders red ale — a style that's often aged for long periods in oak barrels, then blended from among different barrels to balance the variations in sourness and acidity found in aging.
Background: MobCraft has big plans for its sour line of beers. The brewery's Henry Schwartz says the company is “experimenting with different styles and different bacteria.” A few of the brews yet to be released include a brown ale, Belgian dubbel, Belgian WIT, Belgian pale ale, stout and a festival-only beer based on a barley wine.
In making sour beers MobCraft uses a separate aging area outside the brew house belonging to House of Brews, where its other beers are made. It also bottles using a separate filling machine. These steps are necessary to prevent the main brew house from becoming infected with the wild yeasts and bacteria that give the sours their sour.
The beer behind Sour Safari is MobCraft’s Mistah Tea, a red ale infused with black tea. But in this version, it's aged for about seven months in the barrel, followed by two months in a conditioning tank, and then bottle-conditioned for another three weeks. It finishes at around 5.6% ABV.
Aroma: A fruity sourness with a hint of spicy yeast-phenolic aroma.
Appearance: Reddish amber and a bubbly tan head.
Texture: Medium bodied. Some perception of sharpness because of its sourness.
Taste: Sharp acidic (lactobacillus) sourness. Tartness with a pleasant light malty backbone.
Finish/Aftertaste: Sharp acidic sourness lingers. Just a hint of barrel oak.
Glassware: This sour red is best in a tulip glass, to show off the reddish-copper color while allowing the aroma to gently arise from the glass. A snifter is also a good choice because it focuses the nose and encourages sipping. Keep this beer at refrigerator temps until serving, then let it warm somewhat before drinking to allow more of the carbonation to be released and bring out more of the aroma and sour qualities.
Pairs well with: Sour Safari is best, at least initially, on its own, without food. But it could make a nice green salad companion; it also pairs well with seared tuna or scallops.
Rating: Four Bottle Openers.
The Verdict: MobCraft has made a very enticing sour, sharp and acidic beer. There’s a complexity to Sour Safari, and it has a pleasant undertone of maltiness with hints of oaky vanilla from the barrel. It's approachable for newcomers to the style, but sour enough to satisfy aficionados.
For hard-core sour fans: This isn’t a Rodenbach sour red (considered by many as a standard for the style); however, it's a great starting point for MobCraft’s entry into the genre of sours.