Washington Post: Another Kind of Red

There's a nice article in the Washington Post called Another Kind of Red, about Flanders Red Ales. It starts by mentioning Rodenbach Grand Cru and later mentions other Belgian and American versions like Duchesse de Bourgogne and La Folie. It does a nice job of describing the style:

Don't be intimidated by the sharp, almost vinegar-like aroma, a common trait of the Flanders sour red ale style. You'll find these beers complex, thirst-quenching and food-friendly. They're remnants of an earlier era when brewers aged their beers in unlined wooden vessels; microorganisms residing in the wood, particularly lactobacillus and wild yeasts, joined in the fermentation and made their own flavor contributions.

Flanders red ales are fruity, with cherry being the most common descriptor. You might also detect a little sour apple, raspberry or cranberry in the Rodenbach. Those flavors come from fermentation byproducts called esters and from acedic acid and lactic acid (also a component in yogurt). A wild fermentation can be unpredictable, so brewers try to achieve consistency by blending the contents of different vessels.

Specialty malts are responsible for the ruddy color, which ranges from deep amber to burgundy, and add a caramely sweetness. Hopping is minimal in these beers, but contact with the wood results in a dry, mouth-tingling tannic taste.

It's nice to see mainstream coverage of beer, and especially to see coverage of wild/sour beers.

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