Review: Anchorage Brewing Anadromous Black Sour Ale (2016)

Review of Anadromous Black Sour Ale (2016) from Anchorage Brewing Co. in Anchorage, AK.

Beer Type: Black Sour Ale  ABV: 8.5%  IBUs: 30  Tried on draught.

Their Description: “Ale brewed with summit hops. Triple fermented. First in French Oak Foudres, second in pinot noir and whiskey barrels with brett and other critters. Finally in the bottle for natural carbonation.”

The Reality: This beer starts with a pungent funk scent and black as night color. The flavor is definitely sour forward but it only asserts itself for a moment before transitioning to complex, roasted oaky tones with a wine tannin tang and a touch of bitterness. It is medium-bodied and very smooth as it nicely coats your mouth. The flavors are bold but manage to work in harmony and still leave you with a clean, semi-dry aftertaste. Their matter-of-fact description really doesn’t do the intricacy of this beer justice.

Final Verdict: We try a lot of new beers here at Beer Snob Squad, probably totaling several hundred per year, so it’s tough to really knock our socks off. We find a lot of beer we really like, some that are OK, and some that we don’t care for, but rarely do we find a beer that is truly elite. Anadromous is one of those beers, meaning it is one of the best crafted and well-rounded beers we’ve tried this year. In fact, I’d say it’s in the top 10 for sure. I’m not saying everyone will enjoy it, it is a sour beer after all. I am saying that you’ll rarely find a beer of this quality with such a perfect blend of complex bold flavors.

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Also, many people over the years have advised me to stop drinking beer because they tell me that “Beer makes you dumb”, however I think I’ve stumbled onto some evidence to the contrary. Within the last few months I’ve actually tried 2 beers that had names I didn’t understand. One was this beer (Anadromous) and the other was Diatomaceous Dry Stout from Hutton & Smith. I looked up both words, and it turns out they are real words with real definitions. I have now increased my vocabulary! Who’s dumber now, beer-haters?Although only a true snob (beer or otherwise) would use either of those words in casual conversation.

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