Fort Worth, Texas’ Martin House Brewing Company stands barely three miles from Best Maid Pickles, a Texas institution. So when the former wanted to do something to celebrate the fifth birthday of the Salty Lady, a Gose with sea salt and coriander, it turned to the latter. Why not brew a batch with a little dill pickle brine added to the process? The resulting Sour Pickle Beer became an instant sensation: hundreds of people lined up on opening day to snatch up six-packs, which soon sold out. So when Martin House finally produced a second run and expanded its six-pack distribution throughout Texas, my local grocery store put a strict two-pack limit on opening week purchases. Luckily, the early bird gets the pickle beer.
Appearance and Aroma
Despite its handsome, hand drawn pickle jar can art, you won’t mistake Best Maid Sour Pickle Beer for straight up pickle juice. There’s no greenish-yellowish hue here, instead the beer has the same light-gold tone of mass produced lite beer, but it’s much hazier. Bring that pint glass up to your lips, however, and the unmistakable aroma of pickle brine arrives. If you like pickles, you’ll love this sensation—vinegar, garlic, and pepper intermingling to produce something utterly dill-icious.
This is the most drinkable pickle liquid you’ll ever come across.”
Martin House and Best Maid seem to have stumbled onto some arithmetic. Just as two negatives multiplied together produce a positive, two tarts (the lemon-y base Gose and the Best Maid pickle brine) somehow make a not-so-tart. This is the most drinkable pickle liquid you’ll ever come across, as the lemon and pickle elements mellow each other without abandoning those flavors entirely. Perhaps best of all, Sour Pickle boasts a crisp, clean finish that’s light on carbonation with minimal aftertaste. You can sip again and again without getting puckered out.
Sour Pickle Beer will be divisive along a very clear line: Do you like pickles? If yes, it’s worth experiencing. The larger drinking world has long known alcohol and pickles compliment each other—whiskey picklebacks, the Bloody Mary, and South Dakota special—and that carries over to this beer. It’s probably more pickle-y than beer-y in the end, but Sour Pickle Beer will be as adept at cutting through Texas heat as it is pairing with your favorite deli sandwich.