Columbus Brewing Company’s Inaugural Wood Aged Sour Bottle Release

Back in January I toured the Columbus Brewing Company Production Facility with Tony Corder for a story that I published a few weeks later. Of the many wonderful things on offer at CBC, the nascent sour beer program was perhaps the most exciting. At that time there were boxes and boxes of recently filled 500 mL cork and cage bottles of Crocodile Tongue taking up a good bit of floor space in the mixed fermentation room.  Since that visit I’ve been anxiously awaiting the day they would go on sale to the public, and today is that day.

CBC is launching their sour program with two beers. Crocodile Tongue, a wood-aged peach sour conditioned with fresh Biscoe peaches from Branstool Orchards in Utica, Ohio, and Domestique, their base golden sour, which undergoes primary fermentation with two strains of Brett in open fermenters before going into barrels with lactobacillus and pediococcus. Both beers were aged in oak barrels formerly used for wine – Crocodile Tongue was aged 18 months and Domestique for 26 months. Even though this is the first proper bottle release in their sour program, Crocodile Tongue was awarded a bronze medal at the 2018 World Beer Cup, when it was simply called TBD Peach Sour.

Boxes of recently filled Crocodile Tongue bottles, taken January 2020.

As of the afternoon of Friday 12/18/20 both beers are still available for purchase on the CBC website. They come in cork and cage 500 mL thick walled bottles at very reasonable price points for style of beer, Domestique is selling for $12.99 a bottle and Crocodile Tongue for $15.99. After ordering online you can pick up your purchase at the CBCs west side taproom (2555 Harrison Road, Columbus, OH 43204). The taproom will be open Friday (12/18) from 3-8 pm, as well as on extended hours on Saturday and Sunday.

The sour program at CBC has been dubbed l’atelier de funk. The term l’atelier is middle French and translates literally as wood pile, but is typically used to describe the workshop of an aritsan. I would say that’s fitting. In this case the workshop is segregated from the rest of the brewery, in a back room with a loading bay. In the room where the magic happens there are two stainless steel open fermenters and 150+ oak barrels full of beer that has been aging anywhere from a few weeks to three years. When visiting nearly a year ago, Tony told me that once they launch the sour program we could expect to see new releases every couple of months. So, I’m hopeful this is the beginning of a wonderful new era for Columbus Brewing Company.

CBC Barrels
The collection of barrels in the wild ale program at CBC is impressive.

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