Kara (aka Sourpuss) joins us from Los Angeles. Kara is a big sour beer fan. So much so that she jumped into home brewing just to make sour beers. We called her a little bit crazy for skipping the usual steps and going straight for brewing difficult all grain styles, but when beer is involved, why not aim high? Kara documents her adventures on Sourpuss Homebrewing, which is where we found her originally.
It’s been a pleasure reading about Kara’s adventures in homebrewing, getting inspiration for articles, and learning a thing or two. That’s why we asked her to submit her conversion beer story. Read on to find the story of how one person went Natural Light to some of the most interesting beers out there. Thanks Kara for contributing!
 
This article is part of an ongoing series about “conversion beers” – the story of getting hooked on great craft beer. To see all articles, go here.
Photo of Kara (AKA Sourpuss)This is Kara’s Conversion Beer

The first beer I remember tasting was my Dad’s. I loved watching baseball with my Dad as a kid and he was usually drinking Genny (Genesee) Cream Ale. Genesee is a brewery from Rochester, New York. I grew up in Buffalo, it’s what everyone drank in my family. I’d ask my Dad if I could have a sip, he’d let me, it tasted terrible. Then as a teenager I mostly drank whatever was cheapest…Milwaukee’s Best, Natural Light, etc. It was a pathway to inebriation and I didn’t mind the taste. Early college was also filled with terrible cheap beer. I thought Rolling Rock was the good stuff. But eventually other thoughts creeped in.

I felt like as someone of Irish, German, and English heritage, it was necessary to be a beer drinker, to enjoy it even. And that eventually led to me feeling an obligation to drink Guinness. I found Guinness surprisingly easy to drink. Eventually I starting hanging out with people that drank better beers and tried things like Pilsner Urquell. Then I finally turned 21. I was living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, finishing my final year of college. There is a great bar there called Ashley’s and they have a crazy beer list. I remember trying all sorts of beers on the list. Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse, Spaten Optimator, BELL’S SOLSUN! And there it was, the beer that would change my world in regards to craft beers, particularly the microbrews of the USA.

Can of Bells OberonBell’s Solsun is now called Bell’s Oberon. Apparently there was already a beer with that name. At the time (circa 1995), Bell’s was only available in Michigan. Today, I can buy Bell’s in my local Whole Food’s in Los Angeles. It’s their summer beer and it’s still great today.

But now I love sours. I’m totally crazy about them, actually. To the point where I barely drink other beers styles anymore. And this has been going on for a few years now, I’m not sick of them yet. And guess what? The first sour beer I ever tried? Bell’s Oarsman. Berliner weisse style beer. Yup, that’s right, the beer I brew all the time now, a Berliner Weisse.