Mohawk Bend's Summer of Sour Beers

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Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 9:00 AM
click to enlarge Mohawk Bend Beer Buyer Lauren O'Neill - FARLEY ELLIOTT
  • Farley Elliott
  • Mohawk Bend Beer Buyer Lauren O'Neill
It's summer sour season at Mohawk Bend. The Echo Park purveyor of California craft beers is planning to ramp up its seasonal offerings with a run of sour beers, those often rose-colored pours that tend to be a little tart, fruity and, well, sour.

Beginning June 22 and running through September, the bar will tap a new keg of special sour beer every Sunday at 3 p.m. sharp, including a few special releases, rarities and hard-to-source options. The list, which still maintains its California-brewed-only cred, features sours from the likes of Lost Abbey, Russian River and Orange County darlings the Bruery, and are hand-picked by Mohawk's own beer buyer, Lauren O'Neill.

"Sour beers are one of our most requested beers at the bar," says O'Neill, who also handles the buying for Tony's Darts Away in Burbank. "Sours are perfect for summer. They're crisp, fruity and refreshing."

Indeed, sours from the likes of Russian River and Firestone Walker have only been gaining in popularity in recent years, as the collective beer consciousness stretches beyond the usual IPAs and lagers. O'Neill herself spent years adoring hoppier, more bitter beers, but she has fallen in love with the satisfying sours found worldwide. Generally relying on wilder yeast strains and a more natural fermentation process, beers such as Bear Republic's Tartare (arriving Sept. 22) are a much more complex ode to the ancient breweries of Belgium, where fruity lambic beers are some of the oldest continually brewed styles in the world.

How did O'Neill pick the breweries she wanted to represent for this summer's run of sours? "I went with breweries that I trust," she says. That means seasonal offerings such as Hottenroth from the Bruery, a Berliner Weisse brewed using funkier yeast strains including lactobacillus and brettanomyces. Agrestic, a wild red ale from Paso Robles' Firestone Walker, arrives in early September and true sour beer fans ought to mark their calendars now for Aug. 3, when a keg of Supplication from Russian River hits the lines.

That last one is aged for a year in pinot noir barrels, and is prized by many beer geeks for its hard-to-come-by status and emboldened flavors. Mohawk Bend is getting only one keg of the stuff. "After that, it's gone," O'Neill says with a smile.

Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. Farley Elliott writes about food, drink and entertainment at OverOverUnder.com.

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