As fashionable as kettle sour ales -- liberally infused with a cornucopia of fruit puree -- are in the craft beer world, they're still not Nate Kester's cup of tea.
In fact, Kester never brewed one in the eight years he was home brewing before coming on board as head brewer at Irondequoit Beer Company. It's become clear, however, that they're what the kids want, and Kester is happy to oblige.
"There's a lot of fun stuff you can do with these beers, they let you experiment a bit and be creative," Kester says
On Thursday, February 6, Kester released his second sour out of Irondequoit's five-barrel brew house. Dubbed Permanent Waves, it's a modest 4.5 percent sour brew flanked by 125 pounds of blood orange and 150 pounds of mango puree. The result is a sweet, tart and decisively citrusy beer that hints at a pleasantly upscale variant of the fabled beverage from Beastie Boys lore, the Brass Monkey.
It's a fitting follow up to Kester's first sour release, Berried Alive, a similarly-based beer packed with blackberries, boysenberries, and blueberries.
"It's just a really good brunch beer," Kester says of Permanent Waves. "It's pretty light and super easy-drinking."
At Irondequoit, a one-of-a-kind partnership with Ridge Donuts lets visitors pair sweet with their sour. Irondequoit offers doughnut pairings with several of their beers, and for Permanent Waves, the beloved I-Town pastry purveyors cooked up an orange vanilla glazed doughnut available only at the brewery.
"People have been going into the store and asking if they had the doughnut," says Wendy Nolan of the I-Square development the brewery is based in. "But nope, that's just here and just for us."
While not quite delicate, Permanent Waves is a beer hiding some subtle notes of zest and earth underneath its fructose-laden exterior. It's an approachable beer that also throws a bone or two for craft beer nerds to chew on. That's right in the sweet spot for Kester.
"I think that's one of the hardest things -- brewing a beer that both people who are way into the craft scene and people who might not even like beer can pick up and drink," Kester says.
Gino Fanelli is a CITY staff writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.