Flanders Red

Earlier this year I had a Rodenbach Grand Cru. I was just learning about Belgians and I think I was expecting something a bit more like a Dubbel than a sour beer. I was surprised, and not that enthralled with the Rodenbach.

Since that time, I have stayed pretty far away from sour beers. Though they have been calling to me. More and more I have been reading about how the pros use oak barrells to sour their beers, and thinking about giving oak and Brett a shot in my own brewing. Then earlier in the week, Garrett Oliver inspired me to buy some real Lambic Gueuze, which is wild and probably a bit sour.

While buying Barley Wines, I bought a few bottles of Jolly Pumpkin La Roja. I knew it is aged in oak and blended. I knew it was a Flanders Red style. I expected wild, funk, and a bit of sour. I became very excited to try it.

Tonight is the night. I am drinking it right now. I think this is going to take some getting used to. It drinks more like champagne. Even though it looks like a beer. But it does look like a bit of a sick beer - sort of cloudy, even musty looking. Very interesting new experience.

Unfortunately, due to schedules of children, I ate dinner at like 4 PM today, which was a bit unexpected and sudden. So I am not eating right now. Garrett Oliver says that I should enjoy this with pretty much any fish, or anything to which you might think you should add a spritz of lemon juice. I think that food would buffer the sour dry beer a bit, and I think I might just go look for a snack to accompany this beer.

I bet that by the time I have had those other two bottles of Gueuze, I will feel like beer that is not somewhat sour and bone dry will taste like unfermented wort to me. Hopefully I will be able to incorporate appreciation for this style while not losing the love for Barley Wines I've been working on.


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