Sour ales with their funky aromas and tart apple flavors are the up-and-coming thing with brewers here in the US. But of course in Belgium, they're old news. Which really only means they've had a few more centuries to get it right. In the pantheon of sour beers, Rodenbach is a classic.
Beer Details: Rodenbach from Brouwerij Rodenbach (Flemish sour ale aged in oak, 5.2% ABV)
Appearance: This pours a fairly murky reddish-brown color with a clingy layer of toast-colored foam.
Aroma: You'll know this is a sour ale from first whiff! Pungent aromas of fermenting apples, tart cranberries, and sour candy fill the air even while you're still pouring.
Taste: This doesn't taste like a beer in any way you'd normally expect. It's more like a very complex cider sweetened with brown sugar. There's a big punch of sweet-tart flavor upfront that quickly fades, leaving behind a whisper of sour apple on the tongue.
It's definitely oak-y with some warming vanilla notes, but this isn't as forward as we've come to expect from barrel-aged beers in the US. For this beer, the more subtle flavor works well. The oak smooths the spicy notes and compliments the sour fruit flavors.
This is a good sour beer to try if you've never had one before and are curious. It's sour, but not in the mouth-puckering sense. If you like lambics, I think Rodenbach would be an easy transition.
Food Pairings: Both crisp and sweet, this is a good brew for the mercurial weather of spring. Serve it with a dinner of roast chicken and vegetables with crusty baguette on the side.
Have you tried this beer?
Related: Go Gueuze! What's Up With This Sour Beer?
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Image: Emma Christensen)