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Beer – #465 – Garage Project – Wabi Sabi Sour

Wherein I have a  Sour Beer,  A moment of happiness, a second glance, ponder random numbers and indulge in double dipping.

The people at Garage Project make a lot of beers! I picked this one  – the Wabi Sabi Sour for my edification.

Brewed by Garage Project in the style that is  Sour/Wild Ale and they are in Wellington, New Zealand

Packaged  as a 650ml bottle of a beer that is 7.7% ABV, which is about 3.95 standard drink units,  at about 420 calories equivalent in this bottle.

The concept of Wabi-Sabi is hard to define.

Man with a grin

Man with a grin

It is natural simplicity – flawed beauty – the way imperfection can make an object more compelling. Sourness produced by lactic bacteria in beer is normally considered a flaw.

This beer is naturally soured and its sharp, tart character complimented with Honeydew melon and the juice and rind of fresh Yuzu.

Nothing is perfect – but sometimes imperfection can be beautiful.

Wabi Sabi Sour, named for the Japanese aesthetic of natural simplicity and flawed beauty, is a strong golden beer that has been soured in the brew kettle with various strains of usually-wild yeast and bacteria given free reign for a few days before the boil. Conditioned on yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit) and honeydew melon, the result is complex but refreshing and remains accessible even while being challengingly and interestingly different.

I’m actually looking forward to this, Sour beers are “the” thing aren’t they?

Seriously though I am watering in the mouth thinking about this.

Peppery aroma on opening, bit peculiar.

Garage Project Wabi Sabi SourPale golden yellow with a muted but persistent head. Aroma is, for want of better description, sour.  Head does fade to film in moments. It is well carbonated.

I’ve had sour beers before and had a short breath before drinking.  Which was good as this at first blush a bit average.

Yes this is sour, but not sharply sour, as though the sourness is a poor outcome result rather than the end result.

Aroma is is ‘sour’, then, then there is a softness that must be the honeydew, but this isn’t a long drinking beer, it’s all a bit abrupt and immediate.

It’s also very thin as a drink, the flavours are all binary.

challengingly and interestingly different.” really sums it up. 

I’ve found a beer that needs a food is what I think, as this would drink well as a counterpoint to some other herbs and spices to help it along. Not to help it along per se, but as a compliment that would make it more accessible .

As an experiment then, possibly not a great success, and frankly a bit disappointing as for me it doesn’t ring a bell or touch a point.  I guess the idea that you leave it a few days to nature, in hope, I’m sure that there is some assistance in some way for this, I have no proof, but leaving a window open seems a big, um, obvious, which means that this is a one shot beer, since what are you going to get next up?

Second pour tales. Since it should be warmer or be more aerated, as I try add wine wanker terms into the thing, it might be different or changed in someway.

Lemons to the fore at the moment, That pepper aroma thing, no more. It gets more sour, but I’m still not convinced as it seems unbalanced and still a bit binary.

I might leave it there.

The pdubyah-o-meter rates this as 8 a of its things from the thing. I know 8 is very good on the scale of things, but what NZ beer do I stand this up against, so in that case it’s not a bad effort. However against the other sour beers I’ve had this is a bit short.

The double dip review

  1. Am I enjoying it? I really really wanted to enjoy this so much more and had anticipation dialled up to 11.
  2. Would I have another? No, I don’t think this is a stayer.
  3. Would I share with a friend on a porch and set the world to rights? I might if I could rock up with some food things that would compliment and enhance it, as a stand alone quaffer, not a show.

Listening to an album that really made me listen, if you know what I mean, from Black Swan Lane – they have a new album called “A moment of happiness” this is a track called Sandia

The style is described as ” Dream Pop / Shoegaze / Post-Punk / Indie ”

Black Swan Lane are a US/UK indie-rock band/project founded in 2007 by Jack Sobel and John Kolbeck (formerly of The Messengers) and Mark Burgess (formerly of The Chameleons UK, The Sun and the Moon and Bird).


Sour ale is a broad spectrum of wild ales, from the fruity and acetic Flanders Red Ales and Oud Bruins, to the experimental ales gaining popularity in the United States which use lactobacillus, brettanomyces and pediococcus in new and wild ways.


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