Rodenbach 2011 Vintage Oak Aged Ale, Our Drink of the Week!
Photo by Charles Lam It's a beautiful beer
Let's get this out of the way: Sour beers can be kind of weird -- especially if you've never had them before. They're tart, they pucker your mouth, they're full-on sour, but they're also habit forming in a 10-year-old-with-Warhead-candy kind of way.
Rodenbach's 2011 Vintage Oak Aged Ale, available from Total Wine and other alcohol stores, is a perfect example of the Flemish red ale version of sour beer. From Bourwerij Rodenbach in Belguim, Vintage is surprisingly accessible to the first-time sour drinker. It guides you through the major characteristics of the style in steps. First with its a dark reddish brown pour and almost ivory-colored head; second with its distinctly acidic nose. At that point, you might be worried that it'll be too sour; that you're basically drinking vinegar, and you will definitely pucker on your first sip (especially if you're not ready).
But as the last few drops of beer drain from your mouth, you'll notice something: Your gums are tingling, the insides of your cheeks feel a little fuzzy, and you'll immediately want to drink more. On the second sip, you'll start to notice the fruit notes -- there's a little Granny Smith apple, a little cherry, and on the third sip, well, you'll be too busy enjoying yourself to think too critically about the beer.
By the time you finish the 750 ml bottle, you'll be happy (thanks to the 7 percent ABV) and maybe even a little perked up (thanks to the acidity). Just pace yourself, because you don't want to go back to the days of chemically burning the insides of your mouth, those 10-year-old-with-Warheads days.