Tuesday, 15 January 2013

REVIEW #111: Rodenbach Grand Cru (Palm Breweries)

Poured into a large wine glass, the beer looks an attractive ruby red and retains a cream coloured head for a short time. Smells of musty oak and hints of raspberry and lemonade. An immediate, biting sweetness & sourness transforms into softly woody tea tannins, aged berries and sweet hedgerow wine finish. A gentle yeasty funk flavour (as is characteristic of the style) also lingers into the long, juicy, sticky finish becoming pronounced and imparting a near-savoury note at the end. Nice medium to firm, almost foamy mouthfeel and delicate carbonation. This is a drink that would go with most meals as its simultaneously light and refreshing, almost palate cleansing, yet so full of complex, fruity, semi-rich flavours that it would hold its own with a strong game or cheese dish; such is the beauty of a good Flemish Red (or indeed Brown) ale like this one.

Now owned by Palm Breweries, the Rodenbach range is still brewed at the original 'brouwerij' in Roeselare, West Flanders. Palm have recently reinvigorated the brand by adding an additional beer to the range so along with the original 'Classic', 'Foederbier' (not easily found in the UK) and this 'Grand Cru' there is now 'Caractere Rouge' brewed with cherries, raspberries and cranberries. All of these beers are Flemish Reds. They also produce a vintage each year, the most recent of which is the '2010 Vintage', released late 2012. I'll try to get a bottle but its going to be a struggle I fear. See the review (#8) of Duchesse de Bourgogne for comparison with another superb example of the style as well as information on how Flemish Reds are made.
  • IBU: LOW <10
  • ABV: 6%
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