Beer: Top Tier Trifle
Brewery: Southern Grist Brewing Co. (Nashville, TN)
Style: Sour – Fruited
9% ABV / 0 IBU
Consider the imperial sour as the next great trend in sours, a double-strength version of a style (well, multitude of styles) already pushed to the extreme. Most sours clock in at a sessionable ABV range but aren’t really built for marathon drinking sessions. If you are only going to want to drink a single sour, why not make it as epic as possible, with bold fruit-forward flavor, some bracing sourness, and an alcoholic punch? Goses and smoothie sours can stay at 4-5% ABV, but every other sour should hit like a hammer.
Top Tier Trifle—courtesy of the best sour purveyors south of the Mason-Dixon Line (Southern Grist) and one of America’s top meaderies (Garagiste Meadery)—certainly lives up to its name. This well-considered collaboration brew features a delightful combination of boysenberries, huckleberries, and mulberries, balanced out with more mellow marshmallow and white chocolate flavors that are strongest on the nose. This sour’s sourness is lactic, not to be confused with lactose, which is also included in the mix to soften some of the sourness.
What’s unique about this one is an element of bitterness. It has an almost tannic quality, like a Shiraz. It certainly pours with a purplish red hue that evokes a bold red wine, but there’s no element of oak barrel aging or incorporation of grape that would be the obvious culprit. The more likely answer is that Top Tier Trifle gets its bitterness from local honey, with a bitterness similar to dried bee pollen or non-flavored honey meads. It takes a few minutes for this beer to open up so you can really get a sense of it, but the bitterness adds an amazing dimension to an already terrific sour.
For more info on Southern Grist Brewing Co. please head here.