The first thing you are probably asking yourself is, “What the hell are miracle berries?” While they sound like a drug you might find at an ayahuasca ceremony, they’re actually completely legal and easy to find (you can buy them in tablet form right on Amazon). What’s neat about them, however, is, after you eat them, sour things taste sweet. Yup, they apply their hallucinogenic powers to your palate, not your mind. You could bite into a lemon and swear you’re eating a piece of candy. You could take a shot of vinegar. You could eat a Warhead without crying like a weak, little baby.
Now, it’s not exactly Earth-shattering news that sour isn’t everyone’s favorite flavor. People don’t go around chomping on lemons when they run out of apples. And when it comes to beer, well, few styles are as divisive as sours. While some of the most sought-after brews in the world are tart—Duck Duck Gooze, Atrial Rubicite, Westly—bring one to the wrong party and you’ll get a bunch of puckered scowls.
This all gave us a thought: What if we could use miracle berries to help everyone enjoy sour beer? Already like sours? Cool, drink the beer as is. Prefer something sweeter? Eat one of these and then take a swig. It’s worth a test, at least, right?
For the experiment, we chose a fairly well-known tart beer, Monk’s Café Flemish Sour Ale. A few notes on what it tastes like sans berries. Imagine cranberry juice. Not the Ocean Spray stuff—real cranberry juice. Real cranberry juice is far from that sweet, sweet “from concentrate.” That’s what this beer reminds us of. In fact, one of the first things you notice when you crack a bottle of Monk’s Café Flemish Sour Ale is the smell of something acidic. The taste is very tart and there’s an apple cider vinegar-like finish. For fans of the style, it’s a very solid, available option. You get a lot of tart fruit. That said, there is some sweetness hidden in all that sour. You also get slight notes of molasses and brown sugar. Perhaps those sweet notes are the ones highlighted after eating the berries.
The miracle berry tablets need to dissolve on your tongue to work, and this process can take a good bit of time. It took a solid 10 minutes before we were ready to proceed, despite sucking on the tiny, chalk-like tabs to speed up the process. Understand that this part is not all that enjoyable, as the berries are dusty and fairly flavorless.
With our tongues coated in miracle berry dust, we took a swig of the Monk’s Café Flemish Sour Ale. If you doubt the power of miracle berries, don’t. The beer is different. Wildly different. The effects are quite bizarre. What was once a glass of tart fruit juice is now something else entirely. But is that something else good?
Sadly, no. It’s awful. It tastes like cough syrup. Those sweet notes from before, the toffee and molasses, they’re still there, only now they’ve been amplified by a background sweetness that masks any subtle notes. Imagine taking a swig of beer with your mouth coated in cherry syrup and you’re kinda there. Sure it’s no longer tart, but at what cost, man? Monk’s Café Flemish Sour Ale after a miracle berry tablet is a cloying mess. If you don’t like sours, just stick with your dry-hopped IPAs, because miracle berries won’t make the experience better for you.