The other sour

illustration by priscilla garcia

Sour beers are all the rage, but not all sours get their tartness from the famous Brettanomyces yeast; some are rendered tart by the multiplication of the lactobacillus bacteria, a rod-shaped little guy that produces lactic acid. It’s also used in the production of yogurt, cheese and many other foodstuffs. Sudwerk Restaurant & Brewery in Davis brews a lactobacillus beer made every year in the late spring or early summer, and it’s on draught at the brewery right now. It’s a Berliner Weisse, a German style that dates to the 16th century. Brewer Jay Prahl says the mashing process is “rather arduous,” because he is trying to keep the 50-50 barley-and-wheat mash acidic and also keep some of the lactobacillus alive. The result, says Prahl, is a “tart, almost lemony, slightly alcoholic beverage.” Sounds like it’s worth the trouble. $5 a pint; 2001 Second Street in Davis, (530) 758-8700; $7.99 for a six-pack at most grocery stores.

Beer: Hop Crisis
Brewer: 21st Amendment Brewery
Where: Kupros Bistro, 1217 21st Street; (916) 440-0401

Beer: Hop Wallop
Brewer: Victory Brewing Company
Where: The Davis Beer Shoppe, 211 G Street in Davis; (530) 756-5212

Beer: Big Brown Beaver (brown ale in bourbon barrels)
Brewer: Berryessa Brewing Co.
Where: Samuel Horne’s Tavern, 719 Sutter Street in Folsom; (916) 293-8207