Now’s Your Chance to Drink a Sauerkraut Beer

By Mike Pomranz |

© Pinhole Photographic / Stockimo / Alamy

Got any big plans this weekend? If not, you may want to consider heading to the village of Phelps, New York, for the Phelps Sauerkraut Weekend. While you’re there, you can grab a pint of Sauerkraut Beer.

Phelps is the self-proclaimed “Sauerkraut Capital of the World” (I’m guessing they didn’t run that by the Germans). So, since 1967 they’ve been hosting their annual sauerkraut festival. This year, they asked local nano-brewer Mike Darling of Crafty Ales and Lagers to whip up a special Sauerkraut Beer for the event.

According to, Darling reluctantly agreed. “I wasn't terribly interested in trying to make a Sauerkraut Beer, to be honest,” he said. But the brewer decided to tackle the project by setting out with a specific goal in mind: “I didn’t want it to be awful.”

The final product is based around an already slightly salty and sour German beer style known as a Gose. Darling said he chose this base because “it’s already got some of those flavor characteristics.” From there, he added some of the brine from cans of kraut into the brew. “This was the first time, and I didn't know if I really wanted the solid, the cabbage, in there,” he said. “I didn't want it to be overwhelming.”

The result: “It's actually pretty good,” Darling said. “It's salty and it's tart. I hope people will drink it.” All in all, that’s about as positive of an endorsement for a sauerkraut beer as you will likely ever find.

The brew will be served up this Friday through Sunday while supplies last. Darling only made ten gallons worth, meaning just over a hundred 12-ounce pours, so get it while you can. “It could run out pretty fast,” Darling said. “Or, maybe not.”

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