Are Sours Gaining in Popularity?

Eno Sarris, May 27, 2015

I've been drinking more sours recently, so maybe it just feels like more sours are being enjoyed around here recently. The best way to check this is probably to ask if Untappd checkins are up for the style, so let's do that.

Before we declare the big part of the right tail any sort of trend, let's check our work against other styles. The biggest style in the database is good old number one -- Double India Pale Ale.

Nope, it's got that same right-hand tail and then the real recent drop-off, which must be a trick of the database. One more, for good measure. Saisons.

The most exaggerated tail of them all. Saisons are the ones getting popular! Or maybe it's just a seasonal bump that looks like more than it is as Untappd's user base grows. 

In any case, no, it doesn't look like sours at that much more popular recently, at least by this measure. 

How about Google n-grams, which look for words in books going back to 1800? 

Even with a slight uptick at the end, this just hammers home how sour beer is actually one of the oldest styles. 

At some point, we may be able to fashion a 'review' score which gives us a sense of the number of sours being reviewed versus other beers. And maybe some sales data some day.

But for now, it looks like sours are just more discussed, not necessarily drunk more. At least not from what we can see. 

Thanks to Wiki Commons user Paul Hermans for the header image.