Chorlton Brewing Co is to stage its third National Tap Takeover at various venues around the country from January 26 to 28, keen to spread the word about great British sour beer.

Based in Ardwick, Manchester, Chorlton specialises in sour beers, which are a relatively new arrival to the UK beer scene, but which have seen an upsurge in popularity in recent years. Many people, however, don’t associate sour flavours with beer.

Brewery owner, Mike Marcus, said: “For too long, wild and sour beers have been seen as a niche product, even within beer circles, and one of our aims is to bring sour beer to the widest possible audience by making it affordable, accessible and approachable. Our National Tap Takeovers go a long way to achieving that.”

Chorlton national tap takeoverMike, who has lived in Berlin and developed a love of sour beers while undertaking “informal work experience” at The Kernel Brewery, in London, told Beer Today: “Our mission is to produce sour beers that are immediately accessible.”

Taps across the UK will be serving Chorlton beers on the FridaySaturday, and Sunday. This will give people an opportunity to drink sour beer, and, for many, Chorlton Brewing Co’s national tap takeover will be their first opportunity to try it.

Mike explained that the event is more about developing awareness of sour beers in general than boosting sales. “There’s a lot of people who have not encountered sour beer,” he said, explaining that there are two general styles — German and Belgian — although Chorlton likes to experiment with fusions, such as a Belgian style sour IPA. These beers have hoppiness, but not bitterness, he says, with the sour notes acting as the balance to the sweetness from the malts.

Sour beers are certainly set to be bigger than ever in Britain this year, which explains why yeast specialist Lallemand, with whom Chorlton has worked, has added a sour pitch yeast to its range. Chorlton has its own house strain, but that does not stop Mike and his team working with other brewers to develop and promote the style. “We have developed souring techniques which we have shared with other breweries,” he said.

This is the third year of the National Tap Takeover. It started with 20 venues, built up to 30 in the second year and this time, Mike estimates, there could be 60 participating bars.

• There is a map showing the venues at the moment — this will be updated as more venues are added. Click here

Chorlton hops

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