Reviewed: Surly Mosaic Kettle Sour
Product description: This lightly tart beer is a fruit bomb with no fruit. Dry-hopped on heaps of Mosaic hops and fermented with Saccharomyces Trois yeast, it packs a funky mango punch and citrus fruit aromatics. Grain: Pilsner malt, unmalted wheat, acidulated malt. Hops: Warrior, Mosaic. 5.5% ABV.
Surly Brewing Co. – Surly Mosaic Kettle Sour – 16oz can served in lambic tumbler – 5.5% ABV
Mosaic Kettle Sour is one of the latest small batch releases from Surly’s original, smaller Brooklyn Center, MN brewery under the “Surly BC” moniker. I was really impressed by the last Surly BC beer I reviewed, Inside the Upside Down, which was also a kettle sour (as opposed to a beer that sours in secondary fermentation such as in a wood barrel).
Cracking open this 16oz can with eye-popping ‘70s disco design, Mosaic Kettle Sour is hazy, glowing straw-colored through the lambic tumbler glass. A thick head of white foam erupts and sticks around for several minutes thanks to generous hop oils in suspension – a rarity in sour ales. Dive in and you are blasted with super zesty yuzu fruit and Sauvignon Blanc style gooseberry. It’s just the most incredible, beyond beautiful, bright fruit aroma one can imagine.
After a few gulps, I’m already in love with this beer. I remember trying my first dry-hopped sour, New Belgium’s Le Terroir. At the time, it was one of the most mind-blowingly delicious beers I had ever experienced. Truthfully, I don’t think I’ve come close to recreating that past euphoria until today.
Each dimension of this beer is perfect. Flavors of nectarine, yuzu fruit, and lemonade combine with high carbonation for a champagne-like experience. But instead of then being punished with prickly acidity, you are blessed with moderate hop bitterness – a flavor combination that hardly exists in craft beer today. That odd combination comes across as leathery fruit like peach skin and tannic white grape skins. For the finish, there’s no lingering bitterness or acidity. It’s clean and neutral. The overall acid level is closer to 1/10 in my opinion, which is impressively low for a kettle sour, and I love it. Sugar is at 0/10, which gives this an ultra-light body that may come off as a touch watery for some drinkers.
This captures two worlds of beer into one. You get the amazing airy palate of a kettle sour like a Berliner Weisse with its refreshing, sparkling lemonade character. Then you have incredible modern hop aromas and flavors expected in today’s IPAs. But more impressively than that, this specific beer erases the downsides to those two styles. Mouth-puckering sourness is nowhere to found – just a nice hint like in good Chardonnay. Palate wrecking bitterness is absent too – only leathery fruit skin remains for structure. It’s the ultimate summer beer.
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