An extremely unique style – the Flemish Red Ale. The Rodenbach brand is easily one of my favorite Belgian beers, and certainly my preferred sour beer. This style can be briefly described as a red ale combined with the sourness of a lambic. My first encounter with Rodenbach was in Bruges, but since then whenever I’ve run across this beer, I’ve taken full advantage.
Here is a brief explanation of how this beer style is unique in it’s brewing process, as this might help the mind in its imaginings of the ale. Picture dark malts, like you would have in a porter, lightly hopped. When it comes time for fermentation, they use both the traditional ale yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae AND specifically cultivated Lactobacillus, which occurs frequently in spontaneously fermented lambics of Belgium.
For the end product, Rodenbach is chocolate cherry in color, a blend of about 75% young beer and 25% aged. The combinations of bacterias and the dark malts give this beer a mildly sour yet rich flavour. With notes of prunes and cherries, a fairly light mouth feel, and notes of smoke and oak behind it from the cask, this is a beautifully unique beer.