15 Popular Sour Beers, Ranked

Sometimes a little tartness can be a good thing. Especially when you want to beat the summer heat while indulging in a beverage that may just remind you of those Sour Atomic Warhead candies you enjoyed as a kid.

But, sour beers have a direct lineage to more historical offerings, such as the Belgian lambic. In fact, the "sour" branding can cover a number of sub-categories, ranging anywhere from a wild beer all the way to gueuzes and even some that are part sour, part IPA. This gives brewers more freedom, specifically with how they ferment their beers. Lambics use a wild fermentation and bacteria process, which can be a challenge to maintain (and clean), so it's easier for smaller brewers to use modern fermentation practices if they choose.

Whether you're looking for a summertime beer, or you want something with more of a tart punch beyond what classic lambics offer, here are some of the best sour beers to check out.

15. Miami Madness by J. Wakefield Brewing

Tampa Bay receives most of the Florida beer attention, thanks to Funky Buddha and Cigar City, but J. Wakefield in Miami shouldn't be overlooked. It's a great taproom if you're visiting Southeastern Florida and need a break from South Beach, especially with this kettle sour beer. It tips the ABV scales at 7%, and has next to no bitterness, with an 6 International Bitterness Units (IBU). Miami Madness is made in the style of an Imperial Berliner, with hints of guava, passion fruit, and mango. You can almost taste the Miami meets German beer as soon as it's sipped. 

So, if you're looking for a fun, summertime brew with a burst of tropical flavor, grab yourself a Miami Madness. This is also a well-loved beer by fellow beer drinkers, as the beer, at one point in time, was ranked as the top Berliner on both beer review websites Beer Advocate and Rate Beer.

14. Supplication by Russian River Brewing Company

Russian River is best known for its Pliney the Elder and Pliney the Younger brews; however, it also makes Supplication, a wild ale beer. This particular beer uses Russian River's brown ale as a base and takes advantage of tart cherries to help enhance the sour-tasting notes as it is aged in pinot noir barrels from local Sonoma County wineries for an entire year. The beer harbors an oaky taste thanks to the time it spends within the wood barrels. Upon cracking open a bottle, you'll instantly be greeted with oaky cherry and subtle funk smells.

If you love funk, this will be a nice break from other sour beers. But, of course, funk isn't for everyone; much like cilantro, you either love it or hate it.

13. Le Terroir by New Belgium

We'll admit that we've soured a bit on New Belgium (pun intended). After Kirin Holdings bought the company out back in 2019 the brewery, three years later, decided to change up the recipe of its flagship Fat Tire beer. That one hurt our beer-drinking souls a little bit, and we don't know if we'll ever fully recover. We found that this brewery was once one of those places you would absolutely have to stop and grab a beer if you were making a road trip out west. But, regardless of the sudden loss, there's no denying Le Terroir is a fine sour addition that is at least worth mentioning.

The interesting aspect of this sour beer is that while the beer is dry-hopped with several "experimental" fruity hops, according to New Belgium's website, the IBU clocks in at just 12. Kit mind, it does have a 7.5% ABV.

12. Duck Duck Gooze by The Lost Abbey

This gooze by The Los Abbey is a gueuze-style beer, and we'll be honest, the gueuze is essentially a lambic. That's because this style of beer is produced by taking two lambics (one aged, one new) and combining them together before aging. So, while it's a little different from when you would combine all the soda fountain flavors into the same cup as a kid, it's a similar concept (just with additional aging). However, this California beer is one of the most desired gueuze beers on the market today, so we wanted to include this 7% ABV sour in the rundown.

Because we're only including one beer per brewery, The Lost Abbey could have several listed, like the Cable Car and Cable Car Kriek. We're highlighting this one, in particular, thanks to its fantastically complex and fruity profile.

11. Amorphia by Hudson Valley Brewing

We get it — you love the hoppy bitterness of an IPA. Loads of people do. It's why adding a hoppy profile to other styles of beer has become so popular. Whether you want a dry-hopped pilsner or a saison with a hoppy pine kick to it, you can find IPA influences everywhere in the American craft beer scene. Amorphia by Hudson Valley Brewing just happens to blend a sour and IPA exceptionally well. Not all beer fusions turn out (and more than a few fall flat on their faces), but this one knocks the flavor out of the park. 

This 6% ABV is hopped with citrus and Nelson hops while it pulls from the tartness of strawberry and vanilla. It's basically the adult version of your childhood 7-11 Slurpee. In fact, we wouldn't be upset if they actually made a Slurpee version of this.

10. Rübaeus by Founders Brewing Company

Founders Brewing Co. might have run into some publicity issues a few years back, but that hasn't prevented it from making some dang good beer. And, yes, the brewery being bought out hurt our beer-drinking soul a little bit, but the sale of one of the best breweries in the state made it easier to locate bottles outside of Michigan. On the newer side of the company's lineup is the Rübaeus, which is a modern twist on the lambic-meets-ale (meets summertime-lounge) beer. Made with fresh raspberries, it's both tart and refreshing without going overboard with the sour. Think of this as a more evolved version of the old Sam Adams Cherry Wheat that was all the rage back in the day.

Rübaeus, which is now available year-round, did take home the 2014 Australian International Beer Awards Silver Medal. And if Australian beer drinkers love a beer designed to beat the heat, it's worth mentioning.

9. Blueberry Muffin by Great Notion Brewing

Great Notion Brewing is based out of Portland, Oregon (don't worry, we'll get to the Maine Portland soon enough, as both are some of the best beer regions in the United States). So, if you live in the Pacific Northwest, you're likely very familiar with Great Notion.

Ever wish you could capture the taste of a blueberry baked good and condense it down into a beer? If you have, this beer is your answer. It has the tart, sugary hit of blueberry while somehow capturing that fresh, warming feeling of a muffin or even pie crust that's fresh out of the oven. Heck, Great Notion Brewing even makes a Blueberry Cobbler Muffin beer. The beer even markets itself as a "whimsical blueberry treat that will remind you of your family's fresh baked muffins." As long as they were good muffins. If your family couldn't bake, well, trust us. This is good.

8. SeaQuench Ale Dogfish Head

The craft brewing industry here in the United States owes Dogfish Head. Few breweries in the country have experimented with unique flavors and expanded the drinking palette of beer lovers like Dogfish. And while the brewery has since merged with Sam Adams, this hasn't done much to stop the unique offerings the Delaware brewery continues to put out. If you are a craft beer-drinking veteran, you probably remember the first time you tried the 60, 90, or 120 Minute IPAs — they really got the ball rolling for the world of IPAs.

Dogfish Head's SeaQuench is a sour-meets-kölsch with a hint of salt. Somehow, the beer found a way to capture the feeling taste of walking on a New England area pier in the early spring; the salty hint tastes just like the chilled ocean air. It's truly a beer to enjoy.

7. Atrial Rubicite by Jester King Brewery

Perfect for those hot (and humid) Texas summers or, really, any other time of the year, if we're being honest, Jester is another wild ale, but it has a lower 5.8% ABV. It is unfiltered, unpasteurized, and completely bottle conditioned. So, while a freshly brewed and bottled beer will have that 5.8% ABV, the number might push past 6% the longer it ages. However, we wouldn't recommend aging a can of beer. Have you ever had one of those suckers explode on you after sitting for too long? We have, and it's a sticky mess to clean up.

In terms of actual taste, Atrial Rubicite by Jester King Brewery has one of the best overall sour bites at the tail end that really clamps down on your tongue as you swallow. So, if you're a lover of truly tart beers, we've found what you've been looking for. The beer also took home a gold medal at the 2022 World Beer Cup.

6. Juicy by Hill Farmstead

We are fans of Hill Farmstead thanks to its dedication to staying not only independent but family-owned. In fact, the Hill farmstead dates back to the late 1700s in Vermont. However, beer wasn't produced on the property until the Hill Farmstead Brewery's founding in 2010.

Normally, when you see "juicy" on a label you likely think of an IPA, but that's not the case with Hill Farmstead's Juicy. This particular beer is aged for 10 months in wine barrels, in addition to being dry-hopped. The beer itself is part of an annual series, so each release does pack a slightly different flavor profile. This is mostly because the yeast strand changes, as does the aging method and style of hops. It helps keep sampling an adventure and will bring you back annually to try the next sour beer offering. 

Of all the beers on this list, Hill Farmstead's Juicy might be the most difficult to score yourself. This is because Hill Farmstead only sells its beers currently in Vermont, as well as a single shop in Massachusetts. Sounds like a great excuse for a New England vacation to us. But, that's up to you. This particular beer is a solid way to go if you're an IPA fan.

5. Foeder Cerise by American Solera

This Tulsa, Oklahoma, beer is a sour golden ale aged in oak "tanks", so it won't get as much of that woody, robust infusion as smaller barrels. The original variation of the beer, Foeder Gold, had a grapefruit citrus tart flavor to it. The American Solera brewery has moved on to the Foeder Cerise rendition, which uses the brewery's Foeder ale as a base before refermenting it with Montmorency cherries. In many ways, this particular sour beer shares similar tasting notes as mulled, cherry wine thanks to the cherry profile with accents of clove. It isn't hit-you-over-the-head tart, nor is it aggressively sweet. It has managed a nice sweet spot in the middle. 

This wild and sour beer has next to no bitterness (just 5 IBU) and is available in bottle form, as well as on draft at the brewery. So, this is a great beer if you're looking to get as far away from IPA bitterness as possible. 

4. Twice the Daily Serving by Trillium Brewing Company

Trillium Brewing Company is one of the go-to breweries in the United States when it comes to IPAs. However, while it might have made a name for itself with its fleet of hoppy beers, the brewery also makes a host of other options, including the Twice the Daily Serving kettle sour brew. The beer has a solid 7% ABV, so be careful when you're drinking it because you can't taste the higher alcohol content, and it can sneak up on you if you're not watching out. The beer was crafted using a base German Berliner weisse beer, before overflowing it with raspberries (and a range of other berries and fruits, depending on the style). 

The color of this beer is one of the most remarkable aspects of the beer, as it has an almost cranberry sauce color to it (so be careful not to spill the beer on that nice t-shirt you're rocking). If you like traditional raspberry lambic, you'll love this. This is one of the fun sides of Trillium beers, as a large portion of the beers it put out have thick, almost pulp-like juice colors to the beer. It makes its beer offerings especially distinguishable from others on the market. 

3. Tiarna by Allagash

Portland, Maine, is often overshadowed in its beer production, but it's low-key a beer-lovers paradise. In fact, for beer historians out there, right around the corner from Allagash Brewing Company is Geary Brewing company, which is the oldest brewery in New England (older than Boston Beer Company). As for Allagash, this is one of the best Belgian-inspired breweries in the country. The brewery tends to avoid many of the trendy beer styles, so while you will find an occasional IPA, it's almost all Belgian-style beers (Allagash White is a perfect summertime beer). 

In terms of sours, the Tiarna is a blend of two beers with two different Belgian yeast strains. It has a fresh, green, and tart taste to it that is both sweet and sour at once. Allagash's Tiarna is seasonal and available in either 375-milliliter bottles or on draft at the Portland brewery. And should you decide to visit the Portland brewery, it's best to bring your appetite as the popular Bite Into Maine food truck slings various lobster rolls on the property.

2. Oude Gueuze by Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen

Most Belgian brewers focus their "sour" efforts on lambics and not the newer wave of modern sour beers; although, trust us, if there's a beer style out there, someone in Belgium is making it. We didn't want to let too many lambics into this particular list because the style could have completely dominated the ranking of sours. And while lambics are basically the grandparents of modern sours, they aren't always all that sour.

Now, with that said, it would be a crime against humanity to not include any beer from Belgium. The Oude Gueuze gueuze beer is aged in oak (by a combination of two lambics). It is important to point out this is different from the "vintage" version offered by the Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen brewery. The vintage offering is a bit more exclusive, but it's not brewed every year, and we wanted to cover beers you can actually locate and consume.

1. Lou Pepe Gueuze by Brasserie Cantillon

Another Belgian gueuze, this is a classic brew made by combining two lambics, which allows it to take on a both youthful and yet aged complexion. With a slight citrus tartness, there's much more going on in this beer than your average sour. This has made Lou Pepe Gueuze by Brasserie Cantillon a fan favorite, both for those who look to go beer hunting around the world, and those who just enjoy a delicious beer that is complex and different from what they are accustomed to.  

Lou Pepe Gueuze isn't just one of the top sour beers out there, it's also one of the best beers in general. The family first started brewing beer in 1900, although the brewery didn't officially launch until 1937. It also has a nice bitterness kick to it with a 30 IBU. And, in case you are wondering, Lou Pepe is named for the brewing family's grandfather, after what the grandchildren call him. So, if you're interested in a well-rounded, complex sour, few can stack up with this sour beer.