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Beer Review #305 Nouveau Rouge

08-03-03I know that I just reviewed a Evolution Craft Brewing Company beer but my buddy brought this one down a few weeks ago and I just had to talk about it. I never heard of Nouveau Rouge but my buddy Mike is usually good at finding rare, delicious beer. The bottle has this to say, “almost two years in the making, our sour red ale is an ongoing project that pays tribute to the sour ales of Flanders. Tart and earthy with notes of vanilla and tannin from our oak aging process, this complex ale is layered with unique character.” It comes in at a respectable 6.3%.

The beer pours a brownish red color. There is zero head to this one and it has a haze to it. The nose is sour/tart and edges on being vinegary. There is also a nice dose of oak mixed in. Usually beers that have this type of smell have a complex flavor profile so I was really excited to try this beer.

On the first taste I actually got a slight sweetness on the front end. The sweetness fades into a nice oak flavor that is mixed with some hints of vanilla. The sourness then comes in and stays. On each sip after the first, I was not able to find that initial sweetness. The tart flavor isn’t the strongest that I have ever had, but it mixes nicely with the oak flavors and it provides punches of sourness as you move through the drink. The sourness lingers on the tongue well after you have swallowed. This beer is very lowly carbonated with helps some of the flavors play out different than if it were more highly carbonated.

I really dig this one. It has a nice sourness to it but it is balanced with a malt body. The complexity can be found in the oak/tart interaction and the different levels of tartness you get while drinking the glass. I’m a big fan and I would be happy to stumble upon a bottle of this at any time. (more…)

Beer Review #131 Rodenbach Grand Cru

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! (more…)