Looking for the best sour beers? Read our guide below, then check out our favourite British beers, lagers and craft beers. Plus, read all about the best stouts to buy and make one of our best beer cocktails.


What is sour beer?

Unlike the bitter, hop-driven beers that most people drink, a sour beer is more similar in taste to cider or natural wine. Sour beers use a mixture of yeasts and bacteria that result in a distinctively sour taste. Methods vary: some brewers will use cultivated yeasts, while Belgian lambics are left in open vats and rely on microorganisms in the air to ferment the beer. 'Sours' is a broad category and flavours range from the briny tang of gose and light tartness of a Berliner weisse to the fruitiness of a Flanders red ale, or the bone-dry, champagne-like fizz of gueuze.

Best sour beers to try at a glance

  • Best tropical sour beer: Vault City Triple Fruited mango, £3.50/440ml
  • Best gooseberry sour beer: Magic Rock Salty Kiss Gooseberry Gose, £2.29/330ml
  • Best Belgian sour beer: Oude Gueuze Vieille Oud Beersel, £6.75/375ml
  • Best higher-strength sour beer: Wild Beer Co. Modus Operandi, £7.99/500ml
  • Best non-sweet option: Thornbridge Brewery Love Among the Ruins, £7/375ml
  • Best berry flavoured sour beer: Vault City strawberry sundae, £3.50/440ml
  • Best Scottish sour beer: Holy Goat and Fierce Beer Terrorizer, £6.90/375ml

7 best sour beers to try in 2023

Vault City Triple Fruited Mango

A can of triple fruited mango sour placed on sand, next to a full pint

Best tropical sour beer
ABV: 6.2%

A fresh, juicy sour, rammed with mango flavour and aromas, gentle tanginess and a slightly saline edge.

Available from:
Tesco (£3.50/440ml)

Magic Rock Salty Kiss Gooseberry Gose

Magic Rock Salty Kiss Gooseberry Gose

ABV: 4.1%

Lightly sour and tart with a briny edge and juicy gooseberry flavours.

Available from:
Magic Rock Brewing (£2.50/330ml)
Amazon (£2.29/330ml)

Oude Gueuze Vieille Oud Beersel

Oud Beersel Oude Gauze Vieille

Best Belgian sour beer

A blend of lambics, this has great effervescence and a fruity, complex tartness.

Available from:
The Belgian Beer Co. (£6.75/375ml

Wild Beer Co. Modus Operandi

Best higher-strength sour beer
ABV: 7.7%

A barrel-aged sour red with lots of berry flavours.

Available from:
Wild Beer Co (£7.99/500ml)

Thornbridge Brewery Love Among the Ruins

Best non-sweet option

Thought that all fruit beers were sweet? Think again. This poetically named Flemish-style sour beer won gold at the World Beer Cup Awards in 2016 and it's not hard to see why. Aged in Burgundy wine barrels with morello cherries for more than a year, this bottle delivers vivid fruit flavours combined with a punchy sourness. Complex and elegant.

Available from:
Thornbridge Brewery (£7/375ml)

Vault City Strawberry Sundae

A glass of Vault city strawberry sundae being poured

Best berry sour beer

A smooth and full-bodied strawberry sour made with Scottish strawberries. Drink with mac ’n’ cheese topped with pulled pork for a contrast, or to complement a dessert such as eton mess.

Available from:
Vault City (£3.50/440ml)

Holy Goat and Fierce Beer Terrorizer

A glass of Holy Goat x Fierce Terrorizer next to the bottle

Best Scottish sour beer

Made in Dundee, this complex barrel-aged blackcurrant sour is a blend of 50% golden sour beer aged in a tank for six months (brewed at Holy Goat), plus a 50% rye sour aged in barrels for more than two years at Fierce Beer brewery in Aberdeen. Enjoy with steak, game, brie or chocolate.

Available from:
Holygoat Beer (£6.90/375ml)


Best British beers
Best lagers to try
Best craft beers
Best stouts


Hannah Guinness olive magazine portrait
Hannah GuinnessSub editor and drinks writer

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