Hi-Wire Brewing - Strawberry Pineapple Sour Ale
- ABV: 6.8%
- Bottle Size: 750-ml
- Serving Temperature: 48–55° F
- Suggested Glassware: Tulip, Flute, or Chardonnay Glass
We’re pumped to have a Rare Beer Club exclusive offering from the folks over at Hi-Wire Brewing this month. This 6.8%-ABV sour ale includes a blend of two- and three-year-old sour blonde ales, fermented using the brewery’s house mixed culture with strawberries and pineapple, with at least an additional month of bottle conditioning to get ideal carbonation levels. Plenty of sourness, vibrant fruit character, moderate funk. Strawberry Pineapple Sour Ale will be available solely through the Rare Beer Club and the Hi-Wire Brewing taprooms.
This pours a nicely hazed, deep golden color capped by fine-bubbled white foam. Nice glow in the glass, and generous aromatics from the moment this is poured. Initial aromatics show a mouthwatering pucker of tart strawberry, fresh pineapple, and endearing berry character as a secondary component. As the label notes: moderate levels of underlying funk, and, despite the expressive fruit, there’s definitely some lambic-like complexity present—which isn’t too surprising given this is a blend of two- and three-year-old sour blonde ales. A generous and nuanced acidity, lots of delicious fruit, and the aroma continues to build as this warms up.
Lots of upfront, puckering acidity highlighting tart strawberries and pineapple. A complex funk and salinity from the extended fermentations, with a layered tartness supporting that exceptional fruit character. Both the strawberry and pineapple additions come through very clearly, nicely fresh, and those mixed-fermentation blonde ales at the core provide a perfect baseline for everything going on here. Fine-bubbled carbonation from bottle conditioning gives this effortless poise, with everything staying super lively on the palate throughout the experience. So pleased with how this one turned out. Hi-Wire’s Strawberry Pineapple Sour Ale provides a lasting, nicely dry finish highlighting lemony acidity and strawberries, plus a touch of toasty underpinning core malt. A beautiful fruit-forward sour ale.
This should continue to develop nicely in one’s cellar for six months plus, though that fruit impact will likely be most pronounced early on. We’d pair this alongside creamy goat’s-milk or bleu cheeses, or (using that carbonation, acidity, and fruit character) beside some buttery seafood with a squeeze of fresh lemon.
Hi-Wire Brewing got its start in the summer of 2013, founded by Adam Charnack and Chris Frosaker, and it quickly became one of the fastest growing craft breweries in North Carolina. Their bread and butter has been in creating well-balanced core beers like the Hi-Wire Lager, Bed of Nails Brown, and Hi-Pitch IPA, and their main production facility—affectionately known as The Big Top—opened up in 2015. Based out of Asheville, the brewery currently has two locations there, including the production facility as well as the South Slope Specialty Brewery & Taproom, which focuses more on their wild and sour ale offerings. As of today, Hi-Wire also operates spots in Durham, Knoxville, Wilmington, and (soon) Louisville.
The creation of the Big Top Production Brewery & Taproom has allowed their South Slope location to become more of an experimental hub for their barrel-aged beers and sour ales (of which we’ll be featuring one this month—their Strawberry Pineapple Sour Ale). They’ve got a pilot system at South Slope that lets them focus on recipe development and smaller-batch creations—including this exclusive offering they’ve put together for the Rare Beer Club this month. Hi-Wire’s been on our radar for a while now, ever since we were visiting World Beer Festivals back in North Carolina, and their ability to successfully brew both traditional styles as well as out-there new concoctions has kept us coming back for more. This circus-themed brewery does a lot of charitable outreach, hires local artists for their artwork, and sources as many local ingredients as possible for their operations. They focus on creating a welcoming environment for friends to get together, and we’re excited to be able to highlight the bounds of what this place has been brewing in recent years with this latest Rare Beer Club exclusive.
You may be able to find some of Hi-Wire’s core releases in the southeastern part of the U.S., including their Bed of Nails Brown ale, Hi-Wire Lager, and their big range of flagship IPAs: including the Hi-Pitch Mosaic IPA, Lo-Pitch Hazy IPA, and Double Hi-Pitch IPA. They’ve also got a rotating flagship of session sour beers, in addition to the many one-off, seasonal, and specialty releases they’ve been creating. Some fun highlights to look out for include the Gin Fizz (a juniper berry saison with Brettanomyces), the Blackberry Sour Ale (aged in red wine, rye whiskey, and North Carolina rum barrels), and the White Grape Grisette (brewed with Sauvignon Blanc grapes). Hi-Wire has picked up a number of key awards over the years for their various creations, including being named the Best New North Carolina Brewery of 2013 by the folks at RateBeer, as well as winning gold at the Great American Beer Festival in 2016 for a German-style märzen and in 2019 for a sour brown ale aged on Palo Santo wood.
As of this writing, all of Hi-Wire’s current taprooms are open for business and offer contact-free curbside pickup. No reservations are currently needed in Asheville, Durham, Knoxville, or Wilmington—but the taprooms are, for now, operating at half capacity. There is also free beer delivery in Asheville for anyone within 15 miles of their Big Top taproom. Tours (when available) can be booked online, and cost $5 for 21+ individuals and are free for those under 21 (who obviously won’t be sampling afterward and are along for the ride). The Big Top has its own beer garden and is home to all of Hi-Wire’s large-scale events, and you can sample a pint of their latest creations next to the tanks where they were fermented. Hi-Wire currently distributes in draft and bottles to parts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Indiana, and Virginia. They can also ship beer to various other states through their Online Beer Shop. For the latest info, head over to hiwirebrewing.com.
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