“I don’t like sours…”

Toolbox-Brewing-BeersHard as it is to admit, there was a time when I too uttered these very same words during my early exploration of San Diego craft beer breweries. And like so many other ill-informed consumers who came before me and will no doubt continue to follow after, all it took was ONE beer to rub my palate the wrong way and just like that I was prepared to dismiss the entire genre.


toolbox-breweryI won’t name names and identify the “first offender” that turned me off to craft sours but I will say this… It was a relatively expensive bottle born of a well-known San Diego brewery. I think the brewery’s reputation and my affinity for their other beers sort of magnified the situation by leaving me thinking, “Well shit… If I like all these other beers they produce but can’t stand this thing, I must not like sours…” And that was that.

So, that misconception was allowed to sit and ferment in the foeder of my mind until one day, dedicated imbibliologist that I am (yeah, I just made that up), I decided to take a chance on a bomber from another brewery, and just for the record, it wasn’t even Toolbox, who somewhere along the way was supposed to be the main topic of this post. It was Stumblefoot’s San Elijo Sour… Que the harps of enlightenment as the veil of ignorance was lifted from my palate…

What??? You mean there’s more than one kind of “sour”??? Well duh… Isn’t there more than one kind of IPA? Stout? Shit, even your macro-lagers come in a wide variety of weak-kneed incarnations that are perfect for putting out campfire coals or serving to uninvited guests…

Which brings us to Toolbox Brewing in Vista… To say thattoolbox-brewing-saison they’ve made a science out of brewing wild ales and sours ain’t just hyperbole. Head brewer Ehren Schmidt was deeply immersed in the study of geological sciences until he realized that brewing beer in Southern California was a hell of a lot more enticing than working for an oil company somewhere on the east coast.

Fast forward to present, now teamed up with Spencer & Amanda, the three of them are faced with what I’ll call “sour skepticism” on at least a semi-regular basis. Folks walking in for the first time and blurting out the same stupid reaction I myself might have babbled only a couple of years ago. They’ll certainly do their best to re-educate you should you suffer from sourphobia but to quote Ehren from the video, dismissing their diverse variety of brews as just “sours” is like saying lasagne is “just cheese”.

You might want to keep that in mind in case your first introduction to the genre went anything like mine…

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