Oli Drake’s Flanders Red is the Champion Ale from this year’s SOBA National Home Brew Competition. It scored an emphatic 48/50, and it’s also the first sour he made
“I put it down in June of 2013 so it was almost two and a half years old by the time it was judged. It had nearly two years of maturation in the fermenter and a few months on the bottle. I was fermenting in glass carboys.
“I like making a bit of everything, but I really like brewing sour beers. I’ve got a few glass carboys that I keep on a constant rotation of different aged sour beers. That Flanders Red was the first sour I put down so I’ve been doing it for more than two years now. Sours have really exploded since then – I first heard about sour beers on different podcasts, so I tried them and really liked them, then thought, 'Let’s give this a go’.
“If I was going to go pro I’d really like to do barrel-aged sour beers. 8 Wired’s sours they are just fantastic. I also like Moa Rum Barrel aged sour and other Moa sours. Moa's pricing is quite low and you can easily go to a supermarket and get a New Zealand made sour. That’s awesome.
“Sours are definitely an option for people who don’t like traditional beers. Maybe they like cider or wine. (Sours’ popularity) will go up and down but it will definitely be a style that stays around. Look at the brash IPAs a couple of years ago – now they’ve backed off a bit on the big hops and they’re still part of the mix. That will happen with sours. Everyone will try going for the sourest beers they can make and after a while they’ll start to realise the balance is more important.”