To the craft beer enthusiast, sour ale is the source of obsession. But its pungent tonalities can be off-putting to the casual consumer. With their newest release, Captain Lawrence Brewing has bottled a sour capable of pleasing both camps. Hudson Valley Harvest Sour Raspberry is an ale aged in oak barrels, fermented with fruit sourced entirely from Stone Barns in northern Westchester County. This weekend, the Elmsford-based brewery unleashes a supremely limited supply of the beer for $15 a bottle.
Sour ales are often bottle conditioned, meaning they are packaged with active yeast, allowing them to develop with time as they sit on the shelf. But Sour Raspberry actually hit the bottle almost a year ago. The beer sat patiently in the brewery awaiting elegant, updated labeling. Now it is rearing to go, ready to please palates with all its glorious complexities.
“This is far and away one of the best sours we have produced to date,” says Scott Tobin, brewhouse manager. “It’s got this crisp mouthfeel that lets the freshness of the fruit shine through every sip.” And those raspberries really do assume centerstage, delivering a tartness only slightly subdued by faint traces of wood in the finish. Never overwhelming on the tongue, its an optimal gateway sour to share with the uninitiated.
“With the current demand for sours at the brewery, this one’s going to be fetched up fast,” warns Tobin. So if you’re hoping to secure Sour Raspberry as a stocking stuffer this Christmas, steer your sleigh towards the brewery post haste. Enjoy a few classic Captain Lawrence offerings on tap while you’re there.
The tasting room is open from noon until 6 p.m. on Saturday, and noon – 5 p.m. every Sunday. Click here for details and directions.