How is everyone enjoying Belgium, so far? Brussels has treated us well. Last week we had the pleasure of enjoying Lambics, one of the oldest beer styles in the world. Now we are loading up the Wyatt’s World Beer Tour bus and heading west into the region of Flanders, home of two unique styles of tart ales, the reds of West Flanders and the browns of East Flanders.
These reddish-brown ales, known as the “Burgundies of Belgium” are bright and acidic, yet fruity and often slightly sweet. They can be dark, balanced, vinous, and tart. They’re quite versatile with food, matching nicely with the regional cuisine of mussels and the sweet-and-sour Flemish carbonnade.
Still unfamiliar with these ales, or thinking that you’ve never had one? Well, what if I were to tell you one of Colorado’s most famous beers is a direct decendant of Flanders? New Belgium’s La Folie Sour Brown ale is the creation of Brewmaster, Peter Bouckaert, a former brewer at Rodenbach, Flanders’ most famous brewery.
Rodenbach will be our first destination. Located in the town of Roeselare in West Flanders. Rodenbach ages their ales in large wooden vessels, known as foudres (just like those at New Belgium, in Fort Collins).
During the maturation time in these vessels, wild yeasts and microflora produce lactic acid, the identifying characteristic of the style, which sharpens a beer, cutting through the sweetness of the caramelized brown ale, creating tangy winey notes. Here, we will sample their two most famous offerings, Classic and Grand Cru.
The Classic is a blend of 75% “young” beer and 25% “two-year old”, whereas Grand Cru is the reverse at 75% “old” and only 25% “young.” This will be a fun way to experience the differences and nuances of the Flanders Red style.
We will then set out to East Flanders to the town of Oudenaarde, and visit the famous brewery of Liefmans. Their Goudenband, or Oud Bruin, meaning “Aged or Old Brown”, is the classic example from this portion of the province.
Unlike the Reds of the West, this Eastern specialty is aged and matured in stainless steel vessels rather than wood. The beer is still influenced by the local microflora resident in the brewery. Oud Bruin is a blend of young and old beer as well, with nutty, raisin and sherry notes.
Our final sampling will be back in West Flanders, in the town of Esen, with the “mad brewers” of De Dolle. Here, Kris Herteleer and his family are creating some of the most craft-oriented beers coming out of either Flanders province. While they create many well-known and famous styles, we will be featuring their “Belgianized” version of the Export Stout, a beer created at request of their importer/our distributor, B-United. This stout is brewed only a couple of times each year, with roasted malt, caramel and pale malts, Nugget hops, and the same fermentation as Oerbier, their famous take on the Flanders Red.
Remember to get your travel ticket punched for this stop on the Belgian Tour, which, upon completion, is redeemable for 15% off a Belgian beer purchase of your choice.
Tasting hours for Friday, September 16, 2016 will be from 4:00 until 7:00 pm. Our “Wyatt’s World Beer Tour: Flanders, Belgium” event will be held at Wyatt’s Outlaw Saloon, in the back of the store.
All of this week’s featured beers will be on sale!
As always, all participants must present valid I.D.
Stop this Friday from 4-7 pm, for our “Wyatt’s World Beer Tour: Flanders” tasting.
Where else are you going to get a beer tasting and education like this? Only at Wyatt’s!
Your Global Beer Ambassador and Tour Guide,
Nicholas, Beer Manager at Wyatt’s Wet Goods
This Friday’s beers:
Rodenbach Classic – 5.2% ABV
A blend of 25% two-year old ale aged in wooden foudres and 75% young beer. During secondary fermentation some lactic character begins to develop. Tart, fruity, refreshing, with a balancing Madeira sweetness.
Rodenbach Grand Cru – 6% ABV
The same beer, but with 75% two-year old ale aged in foudres and only 25% young beer. This beer demonstrates the way that some long-matured beers sometimes have a very fresh taste. Sharp, cooking apple, notes. Good tannins. Nutty. A hint of iron, Austere and dry, but with a balancing touch of sweetness.
Liefmans Goudenband – 8% ABV
Known as Oud Bruin, or Old Brown, Goudenband features more fresh malt character then the reds of West Flanders. Sweet and raisin-like, with tart balsamic notes. Imagine the flavors of Chinese sweet-and-sour sauce with port and cinnamon. The body is light and effervescent. Less sour with light candy-like sweetness.
De Dolle Export Stout – 9% ABV
The stout is brewed only a couple of times each year with three kinds of malt (roasted, caramel, and pale) and Nugget hop. Unlike today’s more typical stout, this beer has high alcohol, tart flavors, and a big, dry body. It has a dark, almost black chocolate color. The nose is musky, slightly sweet and spicy. Flavors of chocolate, coffee and some hazelnut notes intermingling with licorice. The enhanced, Belgian beer style gives it a high carbonation level that’s very lively. It finishes with a dry explosion of black espresso flavors.