Winter is officially over – not that anyone would know that from the grey skies and roller coaster temperatures. But, through the power of liquid science over at Actual Brewing, you won’t have to wait for the sun to finally find its position in the sky to brighten up your day. All you’ll need is a bottle of Curiosus – a German style sour wheat ale that will keep your tongue on the edge of its seat from start to finish. And, in lovely Actual fashion, the label is just as bright, featuring the usual mash-up of wild animal and faceless lady (this time it’s a post-doctorate python studying a lady seated upon a vise. Those wacky brewers!) This label paints the perfect picture for today’s beer – specifically, what the hell is going on here? But, we all know the best way to find such answers is to drink. And drink we shall! For science, and for honor! (But mostly because it’s beer).
Curiosus’ aroma begins light and wispy, as if it’s shy to leave the glass. A few bubbles tickle the nose, and after a few moments of patience, you’ll be treated to a light breeze of crackery malts and mild, yeasty undertones. It’s similar to Belgian-style brews, but without the spicing of Belgian yeast. Despite that, a tide of tart fruits follow the malt notes, consisting of apple peels and lemon juice and providing a hint of sweetness and an eye-opening burst of sour freshness. It’s a tang along the same lines as a saison, even featuring a finish of straw and autumn leaves, but it’s much more vibrant than a typical saison. Both the malty wheat notes and the tang stand out, to the point of smelling like sourdough bread with a few apples thrown in (if you don’t know what fresh sourdough bread smells like, go whip up a batch right now. I’ll wait).
On the tongue, the party really begins. Just as wheat-forward as the aroma, there’s an immediate burst of sour that punches your cheeks like a Sweet Tart, and drops you head-first into the land of sours – for a few moments at least. The flavors are intense – buttery cracker malts laced with tangy apple and lemon juice, surrounded by a fresh and citrus-esque tide of sour juice. But, each taste only lasts for about five seconds. After that, the flavors almost effervesce off the tongue, bubbling away and leaving only a faint trace of tangy wheat. Because of the brew’s short on-the-tongue lifespan, you’ll need a few sips to find all of the more subtle notes. Fresh straw and autumn leaves will be buried beneath the wheat notes, while the sourness will be accented by bright floral vibes that sweep in just as the flavors begin to lift from the tongue. And remember, all of this will be happening over just a few seconds, so be prepared to concentrate for your first few drinks. After that, find your favorite drinking pace and have at it – the tangy lightness of this brew leads to a most refreshing beer with awesome drinkability, especially since you’ll feel compelled to keep drinking in order to keep the flavors in your mouth.
Actual’s Curiousus is most definitely not for everyone. The tangy combination of sour and wheat may send some people sprinting in the opposite direction. But, I invite you to give it a try, even if sour-style brews have never been your thing. The blink-of-an-eye vibe of this beer allows for quick and controlled moments of intense flavor, while easing you into the drink with well-known flavors. Wheat and saison-style fruits act as your guide through this brew-journey, showing you the exotic world of sour mash and eye-popping tang. A perfect herald for the beginning of Spring, Curiousus will ensure things stay bright and lively even as the sun continues to hit the snooze button on its equinox alarm clock.
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