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Oct. 21, 2021 | Thursday
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SourPalooza brings more sour beers to NOTL
Exchange Brewery hosts its second annual SourPalooza on Sept. 7 to bring more sour beers to NOTL. (Supplied)

Prepare for tart tastings during this year’s SourPalooza, where nine Ontario craft breweries, and three out-of-province producers will sample their cultivated sour brews.

The three sampling sessions on Sept. 7 will be hosted by The Exchange Brewery and the Niagara-on-the-Lake Chamber of Commerce at the Market Room of the Old Court House.

During each session, slotted from 12 to 2:30 p.m., 2:30 to 5 p.m., and 5 to 7:30 p.m., ticket holders will be given one 4 oz. souvenir glass, to fill with samples of each beer being poured. Each brewery will offer two to four varieties.

The Exchange Brewery is one of Niagara’s foremost sour beer producers; lead brewer Sam Maxbauer has been honing the craft of sour beer production since before the brewery’s inception.

This is the second year The Exchange Brewery will host SourPalooza, but it certainly won’t be the last, said owner Robin Ridesic.

“It was such a success and so much fun that we were thrilled to have it back this year,” she said.

The event was created to bring sour beers to NOTL in a fun and innovative way, Ridesic said, adding it’s a great way to introduce new varieties of sour beers to connoisseurs and to introduce new drinkers to the style.

The festival also offers education on sour beer production and serves as a networking opportunity for budding brewers from Niagara College’s brewery program, she said.

“Because all of these best-in-their-class sour producers are there, and their staff are there, it’s a great opportunity to interact with the different breweries and get an understanding of what they’re doing.”

The festival is broken down into three two-and-a-half hour sessions to manage capacity and allow more people through the doors. The Market Room can hold about 100 people, so to allow 300 people to experience the festival, the time had to be split up.

“It seems to be a good amount of time to enjoy the full experience,” she said.

SourPalooza is “very much the Exchange’s baby,” she said, because it makes a lot of sour beers and it’s something the staff is passionate about. Teaching and exposing people to sour beers is one way to share that passion.

“Part of what we do with our beer production is teach people about sour beer and hopefully expose people to sour beer, because a lot of people have never heard of it, let alone tried a sour beer before,” she said.

Tickets are $55 each and can be purchased online for one of each time slot. The souvenir glass is included and there will be free snacks available throughout the festival.