One year in UTOPIA, Howe Sound Brewing's Sour Series
This August marked the one year anniversary since the first release from our Utopia Sour Series, so we thought it would be fitting provide a little back story about the series and recap all of the Utopia releases. The Howe Sound Brewing Utopia Series was developed by our brewers so they could have an opportunity to experiment Kettle Sours, and we aren't biased but we think the result has been pretty delicious so far, with some of the best sours in BC!
What is a Kettle Sour?
A Kettle Sour refers to a beer that has been soured in the Kettle, the steel mash tun, rather than in a barrel. To sour the beers our Brewers add a probiotic called Lactobacillus, which converts sugars to lactic acid. After the Lacto has been added, the brew chills for a few days while it sours until desired PH level is achieved. Most of our releases from this series have also included a fruit addition.
What is Utopia?
Utopia is an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect.
The name utopia was inspired by our home, Sea to Sky Country, which we tend to think of being the closest thing to a real Utopia. However we know everyone’s Utopia might be different, so we hope that you can enjoy these beers in your own perfect place.
Where are the places on the labels?
The artwork for this series was designed by the very talented team, Dream State Designs. Each label is imagined places of Utopia and are inspired by the Sea to Sky Country, the seasons and of course the ingredients in the beer.
SOUR INDIA PALE ALE
The very first release from our series was a Sour India Pale Ale. Brewed with massive amounts of Mosaic and Citra hops, this kettle soured IPA is tart, sweet, smooth, and tropical. There is a big grapefruit note in both the aroma and flavour that is accompanied by white grape, ripe honeydew melon, guava, and tangerine notes. The body is smooth and soft but is paired with a tart acidity that rises and falls in the middle of the taste. A slightly sweet finish brings in a touch of the malt flavour and balances the taste so your palate is not completely overwhelmed with acidity. ABV 5.5%
DRY HOPPED PEACH SOUR
This dry hopped fruited sour was soured in the kettle, fermented with our house yeast, dry hopped with Mosaic and Cashmere, and then finished fermentation on peach puree. There are notes of ripe peach and stone fruit prominent in the aroma and flavour with subtleties of tangerine, lime, and melon. A slight fruit sweetness balances the acidity of the sour and creates a refreshing and complex beer, which will no doubt give you those summer vibes this fall! ABV 6.0%
CRANBERRY ORANGE CITRA SOUR
Soured in the kettle, fermented with our house yeast and dry hopped with Citra and then finished fermentation on Cranberry and Blood Orange Purée. The orange and cranberry are evident in the aroma and flavour, along with a variety of other fruit notes including lemon, lime, sweet cherry and grapefruit. The fruit and malt lend an almost candy sweetness that provides balance to the tartness.
DARK FRUITED SOUR
Dark Sour pours so dark as to be almost black, but with a slight red/brownish tinge. The nose displays a delicate interplay between the chocolate and hazelnut notes from the grain, and the berry fruit character. The dry-hop rounds out the aroma, complimenting the berry aromatics, and layering in a slight grassiness. It finishes with a lingering stone fruit character, and a slight bitterness. Dark Sour is less tart than our other Utopia beers to emphasize the many supporting flavour and aromatic components, and not let any individual character overwhelm the palate ABV 5.8%
SESSION SOUR with LYCHEE & BERGAMOT
Our Session Sour is a delicate, and balanced kettle sour. The recipe is based in a grisette, but is soured with lactobacillus brevis and fermented with our house East Coast yeast strain. It pours a pale straw colour. The fruit additions come to the nose first, balancing the wheat, rye, and acidity. A light dry hop compliments and rounds out the other ingredients with a floral and tropical bouquet. 4.3% ABV
What is Bergamot? Bergamot is a a citrus fruit that is a size of an orange but with a similar colour to a lime. More commonly, the oils from the skin of a bergamot is found in Earl Grey tea.
MIXED FERMENTATION WITBIER
As the seasons change, and winter falls behind us, this is a beer with a light touch that will have you dreaming of the long summer days ahead. Our Mixed Fermentation WitBier displays the grain bill of a classic Belgian Wit. It is lightly soured in the kettle, then co-fermented with the definitive Wit yeast, and sacc Trois. Present on the nose are the hallmark aromas of coriander and orange peel, which are supported by notes of lemon, lime, and pineapple. The flaked wheat provides a full, pillowy, creaminess on the tongue, which is offset by a subtle tartness. 4.4% ABV
SOUR WHITE IPA
Sour White IPA is a tropical island in a glass. It greets you with a bright aroma of orange, lemon, lime, pineapple, passionfruit, peach, and guava. It displays a subtle spiciness from additions of coriander, and a full, pillowy mouthfeel from the wheat. The tartness compliments the juicy hops, and cuts through the palate, leaving you wanting another. ABV 6.4%
For our rendition of this salty sour wheat beer, we fermented at high temperatures with Kveik (Norwegian Farmhouse Yeast). The yeast provides a distinct candied orange character, which balances with the acidity and salinity to create a wonderfully refreshing beer. 3.8% ABV
KALAMANSI SOUR with PINEAPPLE
After coming full circle a year after the first release, this Kalamansi Sour is a nod to our Kalamansi Blonde, but with a twist. Tart with big citrus notes & a subtle sweetness from the pineapple, makes it one crushable sour. ABV 3.8%