I haven't gotten to write about funky beer too much. Sours are widely popular in other beer-soaked cities, but here in Dallas not many breweries have been willing to dabble in the stuff. Michael Peticolas told me he was interested, once, but the wild yeasts used to make these kinds of beers can wreak havoc on small breweries, inoculating and souring beers not meant for the stuff.
Our dearth of sours will most certainly be changing soon. I've yet to try them, but the Collective Brewing Project in Fort Worth has embraced natural fermentation. And here in Dallas, Small Brewpub placed a new tart and funky beer on their menu. It's a keeper.
Last week I met with Aaron Garcia, who has been experimenting with a number of oak barrels stashed behind the restaurant. He has added his Table Beer to the menu, and it's a perfect example of what makes these beers so outstanding. At 3 percent ABV, the beer drinks easily. It is a true session beer that you could drink for hours if you like, while other breweries make use of the term to describe beers as high as 5 and even 6 percent alcohol.
Garcia's table beer is light, with a subtle funky flavor from natural yeast and bacteria, and sour notes that will make your mouth pucker a bit, kicking off your salivary glands in an experience that is truly thirst quenching. It's also a great pairing for many of Misti Norris' dishes, which make use of the same natural fermentation processes.
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Garcia says he's begun exploring distribution for his beers, which means the amount of beer he brews at Small is about to go up. With any luck he'll continue to explore the possibilities of natural fermentation and the amazing tart and funky beers it creates, resulting in more of these beers for all of us. Get yourself to Small soon and order a glass. And be sure to tell Garcia you want more of the stuff.