I just recently got a big bottle of Gavroche French Red Ale at my local bottle shop at a discount price, I did a whole write up on it here and then for some reason my computer decided to screw it up. I lost the whole thing. The important things were that I got it from the bargain bin for $5 a bottle (750 ml), there is no such particular style called French Red Ale (so it was more like a Flanders Red, but less sour and less robust flavor in general), and it was like a light sour beer.
I don't really think of sour beers as beers per se, I treat them more like wine, as they are often fruit flavored, and treated more like wine in their production and aging process. I have been reluctant to make one because it takes 12 or more months of aging, and that would be a bitter (rather than sour) disappointment if I screwed it up and had to wait so long....but at $5 for 12 oz. of Lindemann's, or $12-$20 for 750 ml bottles ($22 for 4 pack of 11 oz bottles) for various widely available Belgians (more for the American Breweries Barrel or sour products), I may be forced to give it a go.
American Craft Brewing is jumping into their barrel programs with gusto these days. It is not uncommon to see barrels packed into every available corner of the local brewery. I understand that it is an extension of the crafting of beer, and that the labor and material costs are so much more, but I am getting tired of the premium prices, higher ABV's, and the ever lengthening of descriptive names. Do we seriously need to be impressed by the big and bold? I have started wondering about that for myself....but then I get a simple brown ale or bitter that is single hopped and well made, and I come back to my senses.
I still love a good sour beer....it is quickly becoming one of my favorite summer treats, but I can't quite name it my dessert island beer, because it isn't quite beer. I also have loved every braggot (beer/mead type drink) I have ever tasted, and my love of hard cider, tastes like the Michigan Fall Days that I miss from my youth.....but give me a nice brown ale if we are talking beer.