Welcome to our weekly beer review, wherein we point you toward the world’s destination ales.
Beer: Duchesse de Bourgogne, Flanders Red Ale
Brewery: Brouwerij Verhaeghe
Availability: All over the world, year-round.
Tasting notes: The dark ruby-red color will be the first thing you notice in this beer. Like many sours, the aroma is reminiscent of vinegar, but it’s a restrained aroma, as a fruitiness shines through as well. Raspberries, cranberries, strawberries and sour candy flood the taste buds up front, and on the back end there’s a syrupy-textured mild caramel flavor paired with a sweet oakiness that takes the edge off the tartness.
Food pairings: My mind instantly goes to vanilla ice cream to balance out the tartness and echo the oak flavor, but this beer will also go well with salty cheeses. And I don’t see any reason why this shouldn’t be served at brunch alongside a fat stack of chocolate chip pancakes — which seems like the perfect way to prepare for an afternoon nap.
Sour beers are hot right now. As a man with a serious sweet tooth, I must admit they’re not my favorite, but I’ve started exploring the genre and this is one sour I can totally get into. Tart and tingly on the tongue, Duchesse de Bourgogne exemplifies the Flanders Red Ale style, a brew that matures in oak casks and tastes like no other beer I’ve ever tasted. It is actually a blend of beer that’s been aged for up to 18 months and beer that’s eight months old. The blending allows the brewers to get the perfect balance of acidity in the final product.
This is perfect for dessert on a hot summer day. Nobody wants to be seen with a Straw-Ber-Rita, but sometimes you need something that leans towards the fruity. This is the perfect balance between fruit beer and manly beer, and one that’s made its way into my regular rotation. This is the perfect gateway beer for those who want to know how to enjoy the world of sour beers — once you taste this ale you’ll be on your way to becoming a sour lover.