Driftwood Latus 2016 Sour Ale

Driftwood_LatusBrewer: Driftwood Brewing, Victoria, BC
Style: Flanders Red
ABV: 6.8%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: Latus is Driftwood’s latest relaunch, this time of the beer that launched their Bird of Prey series. Superior Pilsen, Cara 33, Cara 120, Cara Pils, Aromatic Malts, and is then bittered using Hersbrucker Hallertauer hops. And of course, this is then fermented using wild lactobacillus yeast and aged in American and French oak barrels for a year.

Tasting Notes: This was my favorite of the Bird of Prey of series. It is also the beer that started my love affair with sours, which has turned a bit (ahem!) sour of late. So I was quite pleased to see they brought it back. Much like its original incantation, this beer packs a lot of sour cherry, plums and apricot flavor into the mix, as well as a discernible oaky flavor that is reminiscent of a robust red wine. It was a bit lighter than I remember (and possibly lower in alcohol content), but still very appetizing!

Appearance: Deep crimson/brown, opaque, good foam retention and carbonation 
Nose: Rich malt, yeast sour cherries, orchard fruit, oak and red wine tannin
Taste: Sour fruit, cherries, plums, apricots, yeasty effervescence, oak and red wine flavor
Aftertaste: Lingering tartness and sour fruit flavor, yeasty spice
Overall: 9/10

Driftwood Belle Royale Sour Cherry

driftwood_logoI have always been a fan of sour cherries, ever since I was a boy and my family planted one in our backyard. Another thing I am quite fond of is Flanders’ Red Ales, which are renowned or their sour and complex character. So you can imagine how pleased I was when I found out that their is a beer that combines these two sources of greatness into one whole. It’s called Driftwood’s Belle Royale, the latest in their Bird of Prey series.

bellelogo-sourEver since Driftwood began producing these limited releases, which started in 2011 with the Flanders Red and then followed up by their Mad Bruin this past fall, I have been hooked. And now, with their Belle Royale Sour Cherry, they have managed to tap into the stuff of my dreams. Whenever I drank one of their sours in the past, I was reminded of my favorite fruit and kept thinking how awesome it would be if they came as one. And thanks to this latest installment, now they do!

And like all of their Bird of Prey beers, this one comes unfiltered, is quite strong (8% alc/vol) and is matured for months in oak barrels – in this case, a good 18 months. However, I can attest to the fact that the wait is well worth it.

Appearance: Dark red, translucent, low foam and high carbonation
Nose: Dry sour scent, heavy on the oak and lactic acid
Taste: Immediate burst of sour flavor, giving way to tart cherry fruit and yeasty accents
Aftertaste: Lingering sourness, notes of heavy oak
Overall: 10/10

My compliments Driftwood on your best sour ale yet, at least in my humble, heavily nostalgic and biased opinion. You’ve made me smile and given my first taste of sour cherries since I moved to the West Coast. I wish they were just a little bit easier to procure out this way. I would kill for some sour cherry pie right about now, definitely with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! How perfect would that be with my current selection of beer?