Tuesday, September 6. 11:00 a.m. A line of beer geeks waits outside for Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach to open their doors at 11:30 in the morning for SourFest 2011. The line up of sour beers for the six-day festival that has Eric Salazar from New Belgium on Wednesday at 6 p.m., heralded Cascade Brewing from Oregon on Friday night, and local hero Patrick Rue from the Bruery for the grand finale on Sunday night, is a sour beer lover's dream.
Upon entrance, the opening beer wall featured Cantillon's Fou' Foune from Brussels, Belgium — no one in America has this signature sour — and Russian River's Compunction. The early results as we sat at the crowded bar were that these two ultra-rare, almost mythological beers dominated the ordering among 22 other super-good sour beers. We sat next to Danny, the owner of Stearns Liquor in Long Beach, known for its extensive selection of great Belgian and domestic craft beer, and he exclaimed, “this is best (beer) wall I've ever seen.”
The Naja's crew was there. The Stone rep. The Sam Adams rep. Lost Abbey was in the house all the way up from San Marcos: two of their rare beers on Gabe Gordon's wall. People were ordering Fou' Foune and Compunction like a ping pong match. Beerwise, it was like MJ and Kobe going one on one, except you are drinking the excellence.
Beachwood SourFest continues through this coming Sunday night, September 11. If you have discovered the sweetness — read joy — of sours, it is mandatory attendance. If you are baffled by why some of us have gone insane and worship beers with a funkiness that makes your tongue roll up in your mouth, give it a shot anyway. You know what they say. “Once you've gone sour…”