For this edition of Tasting Notes, our week takes a delightfully sour turn as we get into a pour of Marionberry Sour from Rogue Ales (Newport, Oregon).
Originally introduced back in July with the intent of being “the most Oregon of all Rogue Farms beers”, Marionberry Sour is a “vibrant violet-hued” American Sour Ale made with Rogue Farms-grown prickless marionberries – “a bigger, juicier and more flavorful variety of blackberry . . . originally developed by Oregon State University researchers in 1956.” Marionberry Sour (6.5% ABV) was specifically brewed “to highlight the tart side of the Marionberry while ensuring a pleasant balance through the fruit’s natural sweetness.”
Marionberry Sour is out now and will be available through October 2018. You can find this Seasonal brew in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Oregon and throughout the rest of Rogue’s nationwide distribution area.
Now that the introductions are out of the way, it seems this is the appropriate time to pucker up and lean in for some Tasting Notes!
Tasting Notes for Marionberry Sour from Rogue Ales
Appearance: A gentle pour fills the glass with a rose-kissed, cranberry-colored brew that is capped with over a finger of loose, pink-tinged foam. When held to direct light, the beer glows brilliantly as its pink, purple and red tones all gain an intense vibrancy. Despite having a slight cloudiness to it, a serious amount of tiny carbonation bubbles can be seen surging throughout. The head dissipates quickly to a creamy ring that does what it can to leave a few spots of lace behind on the glass.
Aroma: Lush berry goodness abounds as massive notes of blackberry and raspberry billow from the glass. A touch of dark fruit and sweet grape sneak in to add a bit more depth and complexity to the fruity character. The profile closes with sweet grains that are quickly overcome by an earthy, musty and slightly funky presence.
Taste: As one would expect, marionberry is the star here as it quickly grabs hold of the taste buds with tart notes of fresh blackberry and raspberry. That said, there is also a mixed berry jam note that offers some balancing sweetness to the beer’s more tart and acetic qualities. Bready, slightly sweet grain further reinforces that balance, creating a note that is similar to toast and jam. The flavors close out with a soft touch of musty grape and earthy funk.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a medium carbonation, Marionberry Sour actually has a bit more weight than most sours out there these days. Both tart and sweet on the palate, this thing is nicely balanced and dries out beautifully. The 6.5% ABV is nowhere to be found. Aftertaste is all berry.
Final Thoughts: There is no denying that this offering is an absolutely gorgeous representation of the marionberry, but the truly impressive thing about Marionberry Sour is its overall balance. Sure, it leads with a sharp, attention-grabbing level of tartness, but that is quickly tempered with the perfect amount of sweetness from the grains and the marionberry’s more jam-like side. The experience is not jaw-clenching sour or overly sweet. It is a balancing act that is teetering confidently somewhere in the middle, resulting in an impossibly dry, incredibly refreshing, and supremely easy-drinking Sour Ale. Around here, those marks earn this summer beer some space in the beer fridge. Be sure to check out Marionberry Sour before its Seasonal run comes to an end in October. Prost!