Hoarding is not generally something I encourage. But in the case of Gabriel Gordon, I make an exception. Gordon, owner of the Beachwsood BBQ brewpubs in Long Beach and Seal Beach, is known for his doomsday prepper stockpile of the best and most exciting sour beers in the world. Once every two years, Gordon cleans house, and we all reap (read: drink) the benefits. The resultant week-long party is called Sour Fest and this year the festivities kick off on October 6.
First, a quick primer on sour beers: They range from the mild tartness of a Berliner Weisse or farmhouse ale to the lip-puckering acidic assault of a Flanders Red or an Oud Bruin. Unlike an IPA or a stout, brewers of sours welcome wild yeast strains and uncontrolled fermentation into the brewing process and many are aged for years in order to perfect the pucker.
More than 100 kegs of the sour stuff will be on display at Beachwood’s two locations from the 6th to the 11th. Each night of Sour Fest will showcase selections from a featured brewery, and the list reads like a who’s who of the barrel-aged beer world. These are the breweries that would go to the beer equivalent of the Vanity Fair post-Oscars party. Bruery Terreux, Allagash Brewing Company, and Crooked Stave all get their own nights, and local favorites like Highland Park Brewery, Monkish Brewing Company, Smog City Brewing Company, and Phantom Carriage will all make appearances as well.
Beachwood will pour 5.5 and 10 ounce glasses of the sour beers in an effort to allow multiple tastings (while avoiding extreme drunkenness and/or major heartburn). And if you’re having trouble picking between the selections at the Long Beach and Seal Beach locations, Beachwood will run a shuttle between the locations Thursday through Sunday during the event.