According to the Brewers Association, the fundamental distinction of what makes a craft beer “craft” is: something made in small scales, by craft brewers, and “generally made with traditional ingredients like malted barley; interesting and sometimes non-traditional ingredients are often added for distinctiveness.”
In some cases, those ingredients are really far from traditional. But, that’s what makes craft beer the beverage for everyone — brewers are constantly imagining new recipes that shift the borders on what were once rigid style guidelines. Suddenly, everything is not as it seems: the brew in your glass could be both a Sour and a Stout at once; or an IPA and a Lager; or even a Fruit Beer and a Cider!
We LOVE this fact about craft beer. Which is why we want to tell you about five of our favorite brews on Tavour that blur the lines between styles.
Terroir Project (Vidal Blanc 2018) - Side Project Brewing
This spritzy sipper comes first on our list because it’s a shining example of one of the most popular styles of norm-bending brews. It’s an Oenobeer, or a hybrid of beer and wine!
To create it, Side Project worked with their friends at the local Noboleis Vineyards, adding the must (freshly crushed juice that contains the skins, seeds, and stems of a fruit) from their Vidal Blanc grapes to the Wild Ale base. The brewers let the bright, crisp Ale ferment with both the natural yeasts on the fruit and their own Missouri mixed culture for 6 months in oak.
Next, they transferred it to French oak barrels for 4 more months, bottle conditioned it, and let it loose on the world. Anyone lucky enough to get a bottle of their own will delight in aromas of white grape, golden raisins, and green apple with an effervescent body carrying flavors of light lemon sorbet, hints of oaky chardonnay, and the mildest touch of funk.
The Bond (Blueberry & Lemon Zest) - Deciduous Brewing
To make this quaffable cross between a Sour Ale and a Hard Cider, the innovative crew at Deciduous Brewing sought out the expertise of North Country Hard Cider Co. These Cider spiders make some awesome apple booze, while Deciduous crafts a “stable of Farmhouse Ales and Sours” that Thrillist says “truly stand out!”
The brewers co-fermented North Country’s Cider alongside a bright and zippy Sour Ale until it reached an ideal balance of sweetness and acidity. Then, they loaded it up with additions of real blueberries and fresh lemon zest for even more delicious, fruity depth!
The beer drinks like a sweet and crisp apple cider wrapped in layers of tart, berry brightness. It is thirst-quenching fruit juice that’s simply craveworthy!
Coast West Double IPA - Wild Leap Brew Co.
This brew from Wild Leap might just represent the future of hoppy beer.
It has all the pithy grapefruit, bold pine, and earthy resin of the West Coast-style IPAs that defined the craft scene of the 2000s. But, it’s all wrapped in the super fluffy mouthfeel of a new-school New England juicebomb!
Impossible, you say? That’s what we thought, too! But, every sip of this citrusy 10% ABV hopbomb proves us wrong. Each thirst-quenching gulp is soft, yet resinous; dank, yet juicy; piney, yet sweet. It simply confounds the palate in the best way possible!
In a year or two, you might be able to find a brew like this in your city! But until then, the innovators at Wild Leap have this one all to themselves.
Tropical Smoothie Seltzer - Untitled Art x Omnipollo
Two styles of craft beer that have gained huge popularity in the past couple years are Hard Seltzers and Smoothie Sours.
With Tropical Smoothie Seltzer, Untitled Art and Omnipollo prove that the Fruited Sour isn’t the only style that can overflow with obscene amounts of smoothie-like flavor. This beer was the delicious evidence that showed us a Hard Seltzer can hold its own amongst heavily-adjuncted beer styles, on top of being dangerously crushable!
The brewers crammed a whopping 15,000 lbs of peach, passionfruit, and pineapple per batch, making it thick and supremely flavorful. Much like a bowl of tropical fruit, topped with a scoop of vanilla whipped cream in every sip.
Despite its Seltzer status, this is a beer that craft beer Juicers could likely stack up against even the greatest Fruit Smoothie Sours on the market today,
TripleBerry Hazelnut Smoothie Stout - Untitled Art x Mikerphone Brewing
If peanut butter and jelly sandwiches had arms, they would bow and praise TripleBerry Hazelnut Smoothie Stout. Half jammy Smoothie Sour and half gooey Pastry Stout, this brew is decadent enough to make both JIF and Smucker’s blush!
To craft it, the brew scientists at Untitled Art teamed up with their flavor-forward friends at Mikerphone.
They used strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, hazelnut, cocoa nibs, and milk sugar to make this brew taste like you mixed chocolate-vanilla swirl ice cream in a blender with fresh triple berry jam and coconuts. But, since it’s a Stout, it still carries a light roastiness that helps undercut the presence of sweet-tart fruits.
This beer is like a parfait churned into a milkshake — it’s so delicious, we’re not sure we can look at an ordinary PB&J the same way ever again!
The world of craft beer is full of surprises, and we can’t get enough of it. If you want to check out more weird and wacky brews like these, check out the Tavour app! There, we bring you the latest and greatest beers that are bending style norms.