Sunday, October 30, 2011

Obscura Obsucra

Before I start this post, here is an interview with Telegraph's Brian Thompson on the Beer Samizadt blog.  Since I read this post I've had made it a point to try Obscura Petit (which I had seen on tap at Pizza Port Ocean Beach) and Obscura Arborea (which I had purchased a few months ago).  Petit is a tart, sour beer that weighed in around 4.5% abv.  What a delicious beer.  It's a sour without sweetness. A subtle bitterness appears in the finish and complements the sour.  Petit is my favorite type of sour, moderate alcohol, lively, funky sourness, and limited sweetness.

Obscura Arborea is a different animal from Petit.  Arborea is a 9% Oude Bruin, or Flanders Brown Ale.  It is malty and aged in oak, and I picked up the oak, especially at the front of each taste.  The sour flavors were behind the malt and oak.  Like Petit, Arborea is not sweet, and I found it a dry beer.  Without reading the label, you'd never know this beer was 9% abv.  The beer was thinner than I would have expected, and it's sourness was muted.  I think this beer would have benefited from a bit more sweetness, which, I know, is strange for me to state after just writing how I prefer sours that aren't sweet, but this would have given it a richer profile. 

I've never been bitten by the barrel aged bug, and Arborea is oaky from its time spent in barrels.  Its oak overshadowed the yeast and related sourness.  I liked this beer and would buy it again, I think I was just expecting more from it.  I've had several Oude Bruins, but am no expert.  I need to find a style benchmark so I can properly gauge sour beers.

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