They Brew it, I sell it, You Drink it... and so do I..

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Seeing Red

Belgian Red Sours/Flanders Oud Bruins are a complex variety. They come in many different shapes, form and even degrees of 'red-ness', but no one can disagree with their pedigree when it comes to a great beer style.

Martin Ridge (@6townsmart) has sent me a few different Red ales recently and it's been really interesting to see different breweries examples. I often find it difficult to precisely describe the Sour Reds as a whole... my tasting notes don't usually get past "very sour and fruity" so I thought I'd try review a couple of the more interesting examples Martin gave me here..

These two come from Strubbe brewery. Ichtegem's Oud Bruin was to come before the Grand Cru being a lighter 5.5%. Well the nose is certainly sour and fruity! There is also a lot of earthy, musty flavours too. Dates and figs mix with a slight pine nut and woody note. You get the sense there's a lot of amber malt to be had here and the flavour seems to back that up too. Lots of refreshing fruits in the main body; dark and red cherries, raisins, black currents all lay on top of a finish that's not very sour but still complex and delicious.

Like the difference between Rodenbach and Rodenbach Grand Cru, the Ichtegem Grand Cru is a very different animal. Coming in only 1% higher at 6.5% the difference in complexity is rather large. The aroma is similar to the last but more amped up on the earthy, nutty character. There's also a little sulphur amongst the oak and a slight vegetal overtone. The level of sour-ness is pretty perfect in this one. In comparison to Rodey Grand Cru, it's quite restrained which lends to it's favour as you're more likely to be welcoming to the style as it's not so in your face. Sweet caramels and ripe cherry sugars make it a very drinkable beer, and that's all need be said really - this is a really drinkable beer.

I'm off to find some more...

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