Quick Take: Fortuna isn’t the best sour I’ve had, but it’s pretty refreshing and rises above the gimmicky inspiration. It has a salivating saltiness that makes you want to go back as your thirst is never quite satisfied. Cost is a concern and I can’t see me getting this over a kriek or standard sour, but great change of pace beer and absolutely worth it where cost is not a concern.
Brew Facts: Fortuna is No. 28 in Avery’s “anything goes” barrel-aging program. Avery used a tequila barrel, provided by Suerte, along with salt, lime, and some souring bacteria (Pedio, Lacto) to mimic the lick, slam, suck of a tequila shot. That isn’t enough (it never is) so they also tossed in Brett and Sacchro yeast to take this experiment over the top. As a side note, I quite dislike tequila, so this should be interesting.
Appearance: A bottle tip and the glass fills up with amber gold and fuzzy haze that’s not quite chill. A frothy white head on initial pour dissipates to a glass clinging bubble ring (my glass got a check mark). Sudsy with a carbonation level that bubbles confidently, perhaps a bit more than some sours. No fruity hues or crazy bending of light. Ultimately, Fortuna isn’t going to be remembered for its visual, nor should it be.
Aroma: Ho-hum looks give way to an adjunct filled bouquet of interest. Citrus acidity, fresh lime juice, and a salty sour aroma dominates, pushing the gym sock tequila smells to the background. Did I mention I’m not a fan of tequila? A sweet, fruity cherry creeps in for no reason that I can figure out given the ingredients (possibly a phantom smell from the bar), but it’s there. Interesting and frankly tantalizing smell that draws me in.
Taste/Mouth Feel: A sip and I’m taken with the spot on carbonation and a mouth feel that isn’t too light nor too heavy. Upfront is tongue tingling sour and salt, some bready malt in the mid and finishes dry with a lingering salt. The souring is lite and non-tart, as it should be for the intended purpose. The tequila barrel is a background element, blending in with the acidic qualities to barely surface at colder temps. As it warms, the mouth feel slicks up and the tequila leaks through in the form of a palate drying lemon and earthy agave and sweat. It isn’t entirely a turn off, but I’d recommend drinking this on the colder side unless those broad tequila notes are your thing. It might get just a bit too salty for some as the bottom dregs lead to an unpleasant final sip that is best left in the bottle.
Final Thoughts: I’ll say this upfront. What is essentially a tequila shot beer, sour or otherwise, sounds terrible. TERRIBLE. Just outright, horrendously awful to a level I would never want to be in the same room with let alone allow on my tongue. But even with all of that working against it in my mind, it is a testament to Avery that I not only chose to drink this, but I paid and paid well to do it. Certainly, Fortuna isn’t the best sour I’ve had, but it’s pretty refreshing and rises above the gimmicky inspiration. It has a salivating saltiness that makes you want to go back as your thirst is never quite satisfied. Cost is a concern and I can’t see me getting this over a kriek or standard sour, but great change of pace beer and absolutely worth it where cost is not a concern.
Note: I should point out that since writing the initial Fortuna review, I bought another bottle to age. So, apparently I will buy it over some krieks and sours.
Recommendation: Not for sourheads, but adventurous will dig it.