On tonight’s menu was one of the most unique beers I’ve ever had – Rodenbach Grand Cru. Typically the phrase “Grand Cru” is used to describe reputable wines, but there are a few breweries that adopt this terminology to label their best and most world-class beers. One of the most, if not the most famous Grand Cru’s of the beer world is brewed by Belgium’s Brouwerij Rodenbach.
Rodenbach Grand Cru is a very unique style of beer, a Flanders Red Ale or Flemish Red. This style of beer is fermented with an unconventional style of yeast which produces sour notes, specifically caused by lactic acid as a fermentation byproduct.
This specific Flander’s Red is a blend of 33% younger beer and 67% older beer which has fermented in oak vats, giving it a more complex and mature flavor. I really enjoyed this one. Here’s my full review:
Final Rating: 4.43/5
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Poured from a 750mL bottle into a snifter. Purchased at High Spirits in North Providence, RI.
Appearance- Pours a slightly hazy, auburn-cherry colored body with a thick, off-white 3″ head that reduces at a medium rate and leaves very little lacing.
Smell- Call me crazy but I get a very distinct aroma of chili peppers upfront, combined with a vinegary character that this beer’s high lactic acid content creates. Further evaluation reveal some fruit, raisin, cherry aromas. There’s some vanilla-caramel aromas in the background. Very unique and inviting.
Taste- Amazingly complex, I don’t even know where to start. Let’s start with the initial taste – it’s an interesting combination of sweet and sour, the sour coming first and the sweetness following. Tart grape and cherry skins combined with balsamic vinegar notes. The follow through reveals a fruity, estery, vanilla-molasses sweetness that really compliments the initial sourness. The finish is slightly roasty and the oak barrels come through.
M- Medium body, medium-light carbonation. Pretty easy to drink.
Such a unique style done to near perfection – you don’t get this combination of flavors in any other style. The complexity is outstanding and the balance of sour to sweetness is amazing. Whether you’re new to craft beer or a seasoned veteran, if you haven’t tried this beer you need to seek it out.