I dare you not to sound at least a little snobby as you order a glass Libertine’s new “Saison Fronce.” Of course, the SLO tasting room and brewery is far from fancy: It's a down home place where vinyl Janis Joplin records spin and you can even purchase a wicked cool frisbee for your next outdoor excursion. The beer, a twist on a traditional saison mixed with kooky chocolate malts, is totally unexpected, which is all you can really expect when you’re drinking at Libertine. A nuanced, dark saison in a place that feels like a warehouse? You’re a long way from Kansas, buddy. And a long way from Fronce, for that matter. Just go with it.
• Libertine Brewing Company’s Saison Fronce—About $5; 1234 Broad St., SLO.
Before you start bemoaning two sour reviews in one issue, let me just tell you—this sour is worth trying now. Firstly, it’s really delicious. Secondly, it may not be around for long. The new BarrelHouse Brewing Co. “speakeasy and barber shop” on Chorro Street is ground zero for new brews as well as limited releases, which means there’s always something new and fleeting on tap. This illustrious offering, batch No. 1406, is a sunset-colored flavor bomb bursting with rare Dapple Fire pluots sourced from a local organic farm. The fruit flavor is hard to put your finger on, probably because it’s not every day that you come face to face with the plum-apricot hybrid. The feeling it gave me, however, is totally recognizable: summer in the dead of winter. According to a helpful bartender, BarrelHouse and Libertine are known to share fruit when they can, including pluots (that’s another story). This kind of sour beer harmony makes my heart soar all aflutter. Let’s rock out like the peacots are in season!
• BarrelHouse Brewing Co.’s Wild Dapple Fire—$16 for a 12-ounce pour; 1033 Chorro St., SLO.
Hayley Thomas is so sour she’s sweet. She can be reached at email@example.com.