Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Quick Sips: Rodenbach Grand Cru

While IPAs continue to be the mainstay of the American craft beer movement, sour beers are trending upwards as the fashionable style of choice. That's in part because ardent beer geeks are looking for different different different, but also because sour beers are frickin' delicious.

The granddaddy of sours is Rodenbach, who have been doing traditional Flemish sours since 1821. They're also the most visible and easily available sour beer in the U.S., so if you want to try the style you'll probably start here or, more likely, with their classic red.

The Grand Cru is the big one. The beer pours a mahogany brown. It looks rich and complex ... and it is. The aroma is very sour, like cranberries and sour cherries stored for a few years in wooden barrels. Tones of red wine are present in the mix.

The taste is nuanced and layered. It is tart throughout, with a big sour finish. Not completely mouth-puckering, but close, especially as you work your way through your glass. A little bit of malt sweetness balances out the sour, and hints of oak at the end smooths out the edges.

Overall a tart, tasty jaunt into the world of sour beers. A perfect introduction to the style or a nice comfort beer for old vets.

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