With the microbrew craze surging across the country, it's a modern wonder that Los Angeles has lagged behind for as long as it has. Even today the City of Angels boasts only a few major new breweries, the most prominent amongst them being Golden Road, Eagle Rock, and Craftsman Brewing in Pasadena, which has been earning a spigot at the bar lately in various spots around the city and earning a name for itself as a contender.
Problem is, most of the various spots must lie in Pasadena, at least as far as personal experience was able to uncover (Pasadena itself being too far to roam to). Not many bars in the rest of the city seemed to sport any samples of the new rising star, but lucky enough Beer Belly in Koreatown had one of Craftsman’s new lines: ‘Ursa Minor’ Sour Red Ale.
Brewer: Craftsman Brewing Co.
Style: Sour Red Ale
‘Ursa Minor’ flies in the face of what most sour ale is – unlike the vibrant puckering one might experience with others of it’s ilk, it’s very light and refreshing. Though Beer Belly is a distance from the beach, one could see it on the rack anywhere in Santa Monica or Venice as a summer addition.
It's murky looking, with light foam and a strong aroma that calls to mind sour grapes or maybe Warheads. For being in a class of beer often limited to true drinkers, 'Ursa Minor' is very easy to drink and one can see it accentuating a hearty meal nicely. It's light tone and conflicting taste could work wonders in spicing up a steak dinner or meaty burger.
One characteristic that could be a downside for some is its fruitiness, which while not overly pungent is definitely there. Since many sour beers are made this way though it’s basically wearing it’s warning label in the description. The only other potential gripe is it's ABV. At 6.0% it isn't mincing, but a simple list of other sour ales from some competitors shows that it's in the bottom half in alcohol content.
If you happen to find it on tap near you, ‘Ursa Minor’ is worthy of a shot. Well, a pint really.