I don’t write about every little beer that happens to be released in Cincinnati. Come on… you know one little Gnome can’t do that. What I will try to do is highlight things here or there. As long as I feel they play a big role in the overall Greater Cincinnati beer scene, or to the personality or story of a brewery. This release from Sonder fits that bill, 100%.
On the surface, this isn’t too fancy. Mella is a light, low abv golden sour ale with passionfruit. When you start to dig into the beer’s story, and what it means for Sonder, it’s about a LOT more than just a light golden sour. Hang on… let’s dive in.
Chase, and Luke. When these two massive men signed on to Sonder Brewing Company, people started whispering. Locally… we know Luke can make a sour beer. His time at Streetside helped kickstart one of the most exciting and (I’ll admit it) unexpected sour programs that I’ve watched happen in Cincinnati. When he left to help start a new brewery it was a shock to fans of what he was doing. It was then coupled up with excitement when we heard about who he was going to be working with. Chase spent his early brewing career at New Glarus. While I can’t say that I’ve had nearly as much of their beer as I would like to, their reputation speaks for itself.
The point is that these guys are sour beer guys… they know their way around a lacto strain or two.
We knew it was only a matter of time before Sonder made their mark on the Cincinnati sour community, and when we saw their dedicated sour room… destined to be packed full of barrels, puncheons and foeders… we knew Sonder eventually had a date with destiny.
The Time Has Arrived
Friday marks a big day if you’re a fan of sour beer in the way I am. They are releasing their first in what I know will be a long line of sour beers. Not only are these folks releasing the beer, called Mella… they’re also packaging it, if that says anything for their confidence in how well you’re going to like it.
The beer comes in at 5% ABV, it’s a golden sour and it’s easy to think that it’s just like a few other beers that you’ve had before. You’re wrong… they put a ton of work into making sure that this beer has a lot more going on than just your standard golden sour ale. The base beer is decocted, which from the beginning starts to build layers of flavors and characters that you won’t typically find. It also spent some time in Sonder’s foeder where it gets an addition of their house culture of Lactobacillus – a culture that changes and evolves over time. Once a target for the acidity is hit, the beer is then pasteurized and clean fermented. Finally… an addition of the passion fruit adds a note that plays with the oak from the week it spent in the foeder.
Named after Chase’s cousins back home, (They also created the name… along with what Chase says is a large list of other names he’s been instructed to use) this beer obviously means a lot to everyone on the brew team and the brewery in general. This is the first in a big line of beers that will represent a major part of who Sonder is.
If you want some of the geeky details about what makes this beer different than some of the other “quick sours” out there – you should head over and listen to the most recent episode of Sonder’s podcast, Sonder stories. Actually, to make it easy for you, I’ll drop it right here for you to listen while you read.
Seriously, though – listen to the show. Luke and Chase can talk circles around me when it comes to this stuff… just have faith that it’s going to be delicious.
Stay tuned… this is just the beginning!