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Our First Distributed Sour Beer

If you visited our taproom in the summer of 2021, you may have had the opportunity to try the very first batch of Elderberry Gose. Since its quick run in the taproom, fans have been asking us to bring it back, so we are! And this time, we are sharing it with all Lawson’s Finest fans in our 9-state territory.

The Origin Story

Elderberry Gose was imagined and crafted by our Brewery Lab Manager, Julie. This is not the first time that Julie has been the mastermind behind one of our beers. Every year she takes the lead on our annual Pink Boots collaboration brew and is even a co-leader of the Vermont Chapter of the Pink Boots Society. Clearly, Julie knows her stuff.

In 2021, Julie decided to tackle making a beer unlike any Lawson’s Finest beer; a sour! This style of beer can be difficult to perfect but Julie was up to the challenge. At the time, the women of Lawson’s Finest had decided to brew a sour for that year’s Pink Boots beer so Julie took this as an opportunity to explore the style a little more.

The two beers were similar in malt build which made for a light, slightly tart profile. Then, to change it up, Julie added a ton of elderberry! The goal was to make the beer fruity yet non-traditional. The elderberries certainly complement the style with their medicinal and herbal properties rather than adding sweetness. Not to mention, have you seen the color of this beer?! The beautiful magenta color is all thanks to the addition of elderberries.

The Brewing Process

Let’s talk about the brewing process. To start, brewing a sour takes longer than brewing an IPA. The first step in brewing a sour is very important because it is where all of the sourness comes from.

Julie explains that it starts off normal; mashing the grain in with the water then you take the run off and send it into the kettle. This is where things change. Instead of boiling it for an hour, you bring it up to a boil quickly and then cool it back down to kill off anything you don’t want in the beer. Next, you add a sour pitch at 70-90 degrees and let it sit for as long as it takes to sour.

Sour Pitch: A high-performance, high-purity lactic acid bacteria specifically selected for its ability to produce a wide range of sour beer styles.

Fun Fact: It can take anywhere from 12 hours to 2 days to sour a beer depending on the sour culture used.

Once the wort hits the ideal sourness, it boils for an hour like a normal wort. By boiling the wort after the souring process, it kills all of the bacteria cultures that made the beer sour in the first place which you don’t want to bring into the fermentation stage. After boiling, the beer moves to the fermentation stage where the elderberries eventually get added.

Wort: a sweet liquid drained from the mash and fermented to make beer or whiskey.

Aromas and Tasting Notes

At first, you may pick up tart cranberry on the nose. Thanks to the subtle addition of sea salt, the fruitiness of this beer shines through right away. With each sip, you will notice that this beer is clean, crisp, and tart with herbal notes from the elderberries.