Adelbert’s Vintage Series Sours (Raspberry vs. Blueberry vs. Passion Fruit)
I sampled these three from 750mL corked and caged bottles poured into stemware. The label design on these is simple and classic. I must confess that before sampling these beers, I had not heard of this brewery despite two recent trips to Austin. It’s my loss because these were all seriously impressive.
 Blueberry: The blueberry sour looks phenomenal in the glass. There is fleeting, soda-like, hot pink foam atop a hazy, bright purple liquid. The foam settles down quickly to just a ring of pink bubbles. The aroma is a tad salty with flashes of vinegar, but it is dialed-in nicely to bring out thick blueberry cobbler, ripe strawberry, and rhubarb. The flavor begins with tingling carbonation up front with an impressive mid-palate that is leathery and palate-enveloping with cranberry acid. The acidity is lower than expected with excellent balancing sugar. The finish is then abrupt as the beer evaporates out of your mouth – leaving behind hardly any lingering sourness. I really enjoyed this one out of a wine glass. It has a lot of vinous qualities and the acidity isn’t so crazy as to give away that it’s a sour beer versus maybe a cranberry adjunct rosé. Add just a touch of butter and vanilla at the end from the barrel aging, and this slots in easily as my favorite of the three.
 Passion Fruit: This one is bright straw golden in color with fizzy soda foam. The aroma explodes out the glass with an onslaught of seedy, fresh passion fruit. Wow! The flavor brings some medium acidity, again, dialed-in very nicely compared to many American sours with some more barrel-derived buttery oak, vanillin, and Brett character taking over. Carbonation is high and the finish is quite dry. There are touches of acetic acid-derived vinegar and saltiness, but it is well-restrained. Brett and oak really are the focus here as it lacks the lemon juice-like citric or mallic acid sharpness of many blonde and fruit sours. The passion fruit is well-integrated as it isn’t a major flavor component here. Overall, this one was well-rounded and didn’t rely on the passion fruit addition to be a great beer.
 Raspberry: The last version is hazy, orange colored in the glass with white, soda foam. The nose is sharper with impending acetic acid/vinegar and saltwater. The flavor matches with sharper acidity, white vinegar, underripe nectarine, and white peach. There’s really nothing here that reminds me of raspberry. It’s still drinkable and the acetic level isn’t anywhere close to problematic. It’s just that compared to the passion fruit and blueberry versions, this one is unbalanced and less enjoyable.
Overall, these were outstanding in many ways. The real art for sour beer, in my opinion, is drinkability and subdued acid as many American sour beers seem to be undrinkably sour and impossible to enjoy for more than a few sips. Though all show barrel aging talent, the Blueberry and Passion Fruit versions were the most complete and drinkable – excellent in every regard.