Even since my return from Belgium I have had a taste for authentic Belgian beer. St. Bernardus Prior 8 was one such beer and I have been craving more. On my last trip to the beer store I spotted a beer that I had in Belgium and loved, Rodenbach Grand Cru. Rodenbach Grand Cru is brewed by Brewery Rodenback, or more properly Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V., of Roeselare, Belgium. I didn’t have the chance to make it out to this town, but if I will make sure to if I ever make it to Belgium again.
Rodenbach Grand Cru is a Flemish Red Brown Ale, which is more commonly known as a Flanders Red Ale. The bottle mentions that it is, “33% ‘young’ Ale and 67% Ale matured for two years.” This process is much like what they do at the Cantillon Brewery.Unlike what we think of Belgian beers, this one is relatively low alcohol, striking only 6% ABVs on the scale.
This Belgian ale pours a redish brown, hence the Flemish Red Brown Ale designation. It has a thin light tan head to partner with its redish brown color. On the nose you get the first hints of why this beer has a Flemish or Flanders designation. Flemish or Flanders implies that it is a sour beer made in Belgium. If you have ever heard the term, “bugs in the beer,” they usually are referring to this style of beer. The “bugs” are often a type of bacteria that will sour a beer with time. Rodenbach Grand Cru smells very sour and has some grape qualities to it.
I’m generally not a fan of very sour things and Rodenbach Grand Cru is sour, but not overall sour. It has some strong wine translations with the grape-like flavor and dryness that developed in the flavor profile of this beer. Other than complex sourness, the beer is pretty clean. There are no hops to speak of, but some plum notes can also be found. I also got some cherries in there.
This is a really, really nice beer. It has a good clean flavor that gives a good sour experience without going overboard. It is well balanced and not overpowering in any respect. If you have never had a sour beer this is a great way to get your foot in the door. I can’t wait till I get more!