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Thirsty Thursday: Abomination Brewing Company’s Shotgun Sour

Photo by Ed Miller

Welcome to Thirsty Thursday, a weekly column where we pick a beer from our fridge and review it, because in a world where two new breweries launch every single week, sometimes we need some help sifting through all of the hops.

I wish there was some sort of typical background story behind this week’s beer review from Abomination Brewing Company but there’s really not.  Shotgun Sour was sitting there on the shelf, it had an awesome label and I was in the mood for a sour – that’s about the extent of it.

Abomination’s background, like today’s background story, is minimal.  Finding information about the nomadic brewery which has been linked to East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania on beer rating websites proved to be somewhat challenging, though I do know the company was founded in direct contrast to the Reinheistgebot, a series of regulations limiting the ingredients of beer to only hops, barley, water and yeast in 1487 Germany.   Abomination has been around for at least one year, because one year anniversary swag is available at the company’s online store.  Actually, I like the air of mystery surrounding Abomination.  I know this beer was brewed and canned by Dorchester Brewing Company and distributed by New Haven, Connecticut-based Twelve Percent Peer Project, which also distributes Evil Twin Brewing Company and Omnipollo.  It says so right on the label of this 6.1 percent ABV sour ale with red raspberry and blackberry.

Speaking of labels, the one featured for Shotgun Sour is pretty rad.  It’s a man and a woman, if you want to call her that, in wedding attire and she’s grabbing him with a tentacle, while goblins and other onlookers peer in the background.  The label is colorful and vibrant and gives off a real punk rock kind of feel, which isn’t really surprising given that it was done by Pat Henzy, an artist on the outskirts of Philadelphia who has created labels to many of the region’s beers.  The alcohol content is prominently featured but there is no insight, as far as ingredients, on what you’re drinking.

When I cracked open this 16-ounce can, I elected to pour it before using the old sniffer.  I poured it into a tulip glass because, if you ask me, that’s the only real glass for a sour. Immediately, I noticed a pronounced wine aroma that was highlighted by red berries and a little hint of citrus.  I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily what I expect from a fruity sour beer but I didn’t mind it. Still, the way it would pour and look more than made up for the aroma.

Shotgun Sour poured like the quintessential sour, with a very limited off-pink head, which was complemented nicely by a light purple color – almost like a watered down framboise.  It was both slightly hazy and unfiltered, which was evidently visible after the pour thanks to the floating particles. As far as sours go, this one was definitely medium-bodied and the carbonation was on point, not overdone.  And then there’s the taste, one that I actually found to be rather complex here.

At the beginning of the sip, I noticed a sweetness, brought on by berries, and it was followed up by a wave of acidity and then the back-end tied it all together with the quick punch of sour and alcohol.  Mixed somewhere in there was notes of raspberry, blueberry and maybe some wine.

I was very pleasantly surprised by this beer.  It was delicious and I thought the drinkability was high, simply because it went down so smooth and really left me wanting more.  Part of that might’ve also been the fact that it felt very clean and crisp, a characteristic that some sours often lack. The price wasn’t unreasonable either, as this single can was $5.20, translating to about $21 a four-pack – that really just seems to be the going rate for more complex beers these days.

BeerAdvocate didn’t provide a score for this particular beer but the few drinkers to try it have spoken, giving Shotgun Sour an average score of 3.94 based on just three ratings.  That’s really not much to go by, though I found it to be a little low.  I would have to give this one an 8.2 out of 10, because of the art, the sexy pour, the delicious taste and the fact I could enjoy multiple.  This is the part where I write some sort of complaint, but I don’t really have one – maybe a better aroma? I’ve had one of Abomination’s beers before but I now must find one of their ripe DIPAs, like Anthrohophagus.

Stay tuned for next week, because I might just try something from your favorite brewery.