Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Rodenbach Grand Cru

I have not really explored Belgian red beers very much here. I guess I am really not excited about them much as a genre. I found Bourgogne des Flandres rather uninspiring, and my review of Rodenbach was pretty neutral: it seemed metallic when I’d first tried it, and not inspiringly better the second time.

Still, we all live in hope, so when I sampled Rodenbach Grand Cru the other day, I did try to approach it with an open mind. The brewery certainly put a lot of work into this beer: it's a mix of one third young, fresh brew and two thirds beer that's been aged for two years in oak barrels. Sadly, though, it didn’t live up even to my meagre expectations.

“Vinegar times ten”, was my first tasting note, though I then imagined a fleeting whiff of cranberry.

“Smells like cough medicine”, was Fiona’s initial comment. “Can you honestly drink that? The sink needs descaling: why don’t you pour it down there?”

Sadly, I couldn’t even finish this one, so yes, some basin descaling did occur.

Will I never find a red beer I really like?

Saving the evening, however, my nephew just sent me his drawing of the car he’s been refurbishing. If he gets it looking that good, it would be pretty cool. Perhaps he can use Belgian red beer as paint stripper...

12 comments:

  1. I repeat what I said about a year ago when you tried the standard Rodenbach: "blech. stop deluding yourself. that stuff is miserable."

    I see you have discovered German beers. August will be fun...

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  2. At least try Duchesse de Bourgogne from Verhaeghe Brewery before you write off Flemish red ales for good. It's absolutely gorgeous.

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  3. Blasphemy...being from Belgium reading Rodenbach can be used as pain stripper is just plain wrong and disrespectful to the ancient brewery Rodenbach which is the most impressive brewery of Belgium.
    Tom

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  4. To each his own. I realize that its not a style for everyone. First time I had one I thought it was infected so I dumped it. Later I came back to them and loved them. Rodenbach Grand Cru is one of my tops. Its my poker beer. I assume you haven't had any traditional Lambics that you've liked? Cantillon?

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  5. Love Cantillon! http://40beersat40.blogspot.com/2008/01/cantillon-brewery.html

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  6. Very special and different beer to what an average drinker expects.
    Not to everyone's liking but drink it at right temperature, don't rush it and let it evolve and then one would come to understand why it is a top 10 beer in the world.

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  7. Grand Cru is one of the best beers I have ever had the pleasure of drinking. I assure you, your displeasure with it is a personal taste preference for the genre, not a reflection of the brewery. If you did not love the Grand Cru, you will not enjoy any Belgian red.

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  8. I also had a real hard time finishing this beer myself. I just couldn't get over the vinegar taste. It was just to big.

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  9. I cannot believe the number of comments this post has been getting. Seems this is one of those you-love-it-or-you-hate-it beers.

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  10. Belgium reds.... a difficult genre at the best of times. Yet, the Rodenbach is an awesome beer sweet, sour, big I cant believe people are pouring this down the sink! Its one of the most interesting drinks there are. let it sit at the right temp and try working it with different foods and explore what flemmish beers are about!

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  11. Mike from Motown17 October 2009 at 04:41

    I picked up bottle of Grand Cru after being unable to find an unfiltered cabernet, and after not being able to find a good lambic. I think it was destiny... this is so delicious; I'm drinking it right now. It's amazing how much the flavor changed in steps as the brew warmed up to room temperature. I'm headed back to grab a second glassful just after I click 'post comment'... cheers!

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  12. So many people suggest that these beers should be enjoyed at the correct temperature... yet neglect to mention what that might be!

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