While nobody has yet developed a Scoville scale (the measurement for the heat of a pepper) for sour beers, Sour Beer Week at the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium would be a good place to get in some research. The beer bar in the Power & Light District will be pouring some rare and good starter beers in that category between Monday, July 25, and Saturday, July 30.
"We have more access to obscure sours, and our customers have really developed a palate for them," general manager Matt Gardner says.
For the uninitiated, Gardner recommends coming on Tuesday or Wednesday night. Tuesday will feature Flanders Reds (Duchesse de Bourgogne and Ichtegem's Grand Cru), while Wednesday is Oud Bruin Night (Flanders Brown, a style of beer named for the long aging process and the region of Belgium) with Petrus Aged Pale and Petrus Oud Bruin.
"They have nice sour characteristics, but they won't make your mouth pucker. It's a good way to ease in," Gardner says.
He thinks that if you're a fan of sour beers, you can't go wrong on Monday or Friday night, which features Jolly Pumpkin -- a brewer out of Traverse City, Michigan, that has a cultlike following for its sour beers.
"Everything that Jolly Pumpkin does is fantastic," Gardner says.
As of this morning, he thought there may be a few tickets left to a Goose Island Beer Dinner on Monday night that includes everything from a Fleur Belgian Pale Ale to the Goose Island Lolita Belgian Farmhouse Ale to the 2009 Bourbon County barrel-aged Imperial Stout (served with chocolate-covered Belgian waffles). The six-course beer dinner is $50 for UFO members, $55 for nonmembers. Call 816-221-1900 for more information.
The sour beers will be poured at 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, while Saturday will serve as a catchall, with remainders and access to a few new beers (New Belgium Le Terroir and Founders Blushing Monk among them) that don't fall into a specific category.