Name: La Baie Noir
Brewing Company: Four City Brewing Company
Location: Orange, NJ
Style: Sour – Fruited
A superb fruited sour from a NJ brewery who has shown ample talent across nuanced styles.
From the untappd page for the beer:
Sour fans can rejoice! La Baie Noir (French for “the black berry”) is our dark sour brewed with blackberry puree. Tart with a sweet finish, this beer will be a springtime favorite!.
I’ve been eager to try more of Four City’s beers since I visited the brewery during my 2020 Birthday Brewery tour. The people were really chill and the beer impressed me. I was very pleased when a liquor store I frequent started carrying their beer (per my untappd notifications), so I visited and landed on this beer to try, I wanted something a little different. Since I like blackberries this one called out to me quite loudly.
A rather fancy looking can, the beer name in script with a vine of hops on one side of the name, with blackberries on the other. Yup. That tells you what you’ll get.
The beer I pour into the can is quite dark, slightly translucent. From a distance, it looks black, but under the light there’s a purple tint. As dark as this beer is, there’s no mistaking it for a stout or porter. Aroma is potent blackberries, but there’s an underlying funk I’d expect from a sour ale.
My first sip follows the nose. An initial funkiness, which is what I expect from a sour beer. The blackberries come in and take over as the primary flavor element. A balanced amount of blackberries, though. While a this beer probably has ample amounts of blackberry puree, there’s still the underlying sour/tart and funky elements to keep the “backbone” of this adult beverage in the beer category.
The few beers I’ve had from Four City include beers that aren’t the easiest to make and styles that illustrate a brewery’s/brewer’s skill: Belgian Dubbel, Belgian Quadrupel, and this one. Many breweries are making Sour Ales, but many of them are throwing lactose (or cream cheese!) into the beer and overloading the beer with extremely large amounts of fruit or other “non-traditional” adjuncts…smoothie sours that barely resemble beers when poured in the glass. This beer, La Baie Noir, is showcasing great flavors with fewer components and it shows – there’s not much room to hide mistakes and the sour elements and blackberries shine.
I haven’t had too many dark sour beers, especially recently since I’ve come to enjoy sour beers more. I recall one from Carton Brewing and one from New Belgium, but bothe beers were consumed a good handful of years ago so comparing La Baie Noir to those beers isn’t exactly apt. What I can say is that Four City’s Blackberry Sour is an outstanding beer that should please many craft beer drinkers. It isn’t face-puckering sour, but sour enough to establish itself as a sour beer. The blackberry flavor is wonderful. A nice dessert beer, for sure.
Recommended, link to 4.25 bottle cap untappd rating check in.
Untapped badges earned with this beer:
Fruits of Your Labor (Level 19)