Friday, February 05, 2010

Belgian Beer Review 8: Ichtegem's Grand Cru

When a lot of folks think of Belgian beers, they think Trappist or Abbey style ales--big, bold, complex, spicy and sweet. Occasionally lambics make the cognitive register, but, at least for me, styles like Oud Bruins or Flanders Reds are not at the top of one's mind. All the pity, as I am discovering. I am finding that I really enjoy these sour ales. As complex as their bigger, bolder cousins, but more easily consumed and generally better at truly quenching a thirsty palate. One might be surprised to think of a sour beer as a thirst-quencher, but much like a cold glass of lemonade on a hot day, a well-balanced sour ale does the trick.

This particular beer, like many sour Belgians, is a mix of fresh beer and beer that was spontaneously fermented. The spontaneous fermentation results in the sour notes, while cutting in the fresh beer provides balance and keeps the sour from overpowering.

Brewery: Brouwerij Strubbe
Brewery Location: Belgium
Beer: Ichtegem's Grand Cru
BJCP Style:
17C. Flanders Brown Ale/Oud Bruin
Serving: Bottle

Appearance: dark auburn with ruby hues when held to the light; thin tiny head

Smell: The sour notes hit first, with with hints of sweet malt and fruit--strawberry, cherry, and raspberry

Taste: Not as sour as nose suggests, with sweet berry and malt upfront. The sour blends well and balances out the finish, keeping it refreshing and not cloying. Although this beer is oak aged, the wood-imparted flavors are minimal. The BJCP guidelines (see link above) suggest darker fruits and more mellow malt, but the fruits in this example are brighter--more summer than fall.

Mouthfeel: Dry, fruity, and effervescent; slightly sweet, reminiscent of cherry cola, although not nearly as sweet.

Drinkability: A malty, fruity, aged, somewhat sour Belgian-style brown ale that is refreshing and bright. While it isn't the life of the party, it's a guest you consistently invite because you know their presence adds something intangible to the room.

1 comment:

Viagra said...

Thank you for sharing your opinion on this Belgian beer.