Urban Artifact -- the Cincinnati brewery that occupies a former stone church and focuses exclusively on wild and tart beers -- will celebrate its second anniversary with a party and release of six traditional barrel-aged sour beers in bottles.
The event, which includes live music and food trucks, kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday. (April 22)
"We are incredibly excited to begin rolling out our barrel-aged sours," co-founder Scotty Hunter said. "They have been something we have been working on since before we even opened our taproom doors."
He noted that the party will mark the debut of the brewery's Escapement series.
"It is a base golden sour ale that we age with fruit in the barrel," Hunter said. "We will have raspberry, nectarine and tart cherry for this round of Escapements and expect to see even more variety with this base beer."
Here's a specific rundown of the beers (with the descriptions provided by Urban Artifact):
-- Perpetuum 2015 (Barrel Aged Solera): Proved a wildly popular draft-only release for our one-year anniversary party. We saved some for our two-year party knowing we wanted to share this first vintage in bottles. Sour, funky, and dry this red-hued beer is the epitome of wild culture.
-- Perpetuum 2016 (Barrel Aged Solera): The beauty of a solera is in the heterogeneous blending of new beer and old, year after year. By removing a small portion each year for bottling and blending in new beer, the average age of the beer in solera slowly grows with time. 2016's version spent an average of 1.33 years on oak, meaning incrementally more funk and acidity than Perpetuum 2015.
-- Red Raspberry Escapement (Barrel Aged Sour): Escapement is a barrel aged golden sour & the red raspberry version was fruited at two pounds per gallon giving an intensely jam-like flavor.
-- Nectarine Escapement (Barrel Aged Sour): Barrel aged golden sour with two pounds per gallon of fresh nectarines for a fresh, off the tree intense flavor.
-- Tart Cherry Escapement (Barrel Aged Sour): Barrel aged golden sour with two pounds per gallon of fresh sour cherries for a biting cherry tart treat!
-- Wine Barrel Palmistry (Double Fruited Berliner Double Pale): Palmistry aged in red wine barrels and fruited with a second addition of kumquat, pineapple, and guavas!
Hunter said the climate for wild/tart/sour beers has changed a lot since Urban Artifact opened.
"While there is still some resistance, I am seeing far more acceptance and exuberance whether that is from bars, retailers or consumers," he said. "I believe other breweries are taking note as well because we have seen a variety of breweries enter the Ohio market that offer more traditional barrel aged sours such as Crooked Stave. This only helps with exposure and awareness for the styles and types of beer overall when you have quality producers with established names bringing beer to the market.
"The concern, like all segments of craft beer, is consumer education and quality of product. I still occasionally run across tart/sour/wild beers with distinctive off flavors and other quality problems. That is a huge threat to our styles of beer because if a consumer first tries one of those beers with sub-par quality, they may never come back to the style again. I have heard this first hand at festivals, someone will say they have tried sour beers and don’t like them as a reason to not try our beers."
For more details about the anniversary party, click here.