TL;DR Brew Review: Tattered Flag Going Rogue Sour
As a writer who dabbled in marketing, I'm familiar with the need to write exciting, creative copy. While I worked in fashion and beauty, not beer, the concept is the same: make the words on any product packaging compelling and people are more likely to buy it. In craft beer, this has led to a remarkable amount of descriptors (especially in the IPA scene where every other beer has notes of tropical fruit and all manner of piney plant matter) implying that beers are imbued with every flavor from cotton candy to peanut butter. Rarely, have I tasted true peanut butter flavor in a beer. Never have I ever tasted cotton candy. All this rambling is to say, basically, that I don't trust how a beer tastes until I taste it myself and I am especially distrustful of beers that have flavor profiles on the label. Beer can labels are often liars.
Going Rogue from Tattered Flag Brewing is not a liar. It tastes like what it says it's going to taste like and that, to me, is actually incredibly refreshing. It's described by the brewery as a sour ale conditioned on raspberry puree, cinnamon, vanilla, and lactose. And what do you know, that's exactly what it tastes like. Going Rogue is starts tart and raspberry forward, delivering the kind of fruit flavor that I thought was missing from Half Acre's Fully Saturated Double Daisy Cutter. The cinnamon is an unexpected delight. Normally, I don't think of cinnamon and raspberry as being particularly fruitful (I'm so sorry for this pun. It just happened.) flavor companions, but they pair well together, perfectly balancing a bit of bite with a bit of sweetness.
Did I mention this beer is a beautiful color? Like, I wish I had a lipstick in this color. It's got a deep blush of pink tinged crimson and I'm in love with it, but back to how it tastes: the cinnamon eventually overpowers the raspberry, taking full control of the backend. The lactose comes through more as a texture than a taste, creating a creaminess that develops with each sip into a smooth, rich milkshake consistency. I definitely couldn't drink an entire four-pack of this sour—it's got far too much richness to down more than one 16 oz can in a sitting—but it does successfully accomplish what few recent sour beer releases have managed lately: delivering a delightfully tart, drinkable, flavorful, and unique beer that actually tastes like what it says it's going to taste like on the can.