Sour Beer Studies: Duchesse De Bourgogne, Verhaeghe, BE

Why did I pick another Flemish Red so early on in these Sour Beer Studies? I think I am still wary of those dry lambics in the stash and Stonch has spoken so highly of the style that I thought what the heck.

First thing to note is that is this a beer that was kept on the wood as well so could be a cross over post to the About Oaked Beer series, too…so I will. Then, interesting to note that Michael Jackson claims the Verhaege family (no latter “h” in my 2000 edition of his Great Beer Guide) has been brewing in Vichte since the 1500s and that this beer is brewed in oak vessels dating from the 1880s. The brewery’s website is in Flemish but I once worked in Holland and like to pretend I can hack my way though. Well, I can’t really (though I know Smaak: zoet-zurig, fruitig means “Taste: sweet-sour, fruity”) but there are plenty of photos on their history page including those big oak vessels. 4% of BAers do not like it but they really do not like the style which makes it difficult even if it is honest.

The beer pours deep chestnut with a quickly resolving tan head. On the pop of the 750 ml cork top there was a whiff of candy floss that dissipated leaving the aroma of sweet cherry candy and balsamic vinegar. A soft and still sourish ale in the mouth but by far the most approachable I can remember trying. Plenty of fruit and sweetness like a Polish cherry wine but under layers of soft water and a hardwood veneer of a more dignified sort than your average rec room panelling. Somewhat like sweet Cinzano, too, with herbal notes of rosemary and thyme. Far less sour than the Panil Barriquée that I tried a few weeks ago. A slight dryness right at the end in the middle of the tongue. I want to braise fennel root and lamb chops in it.

Funny to find myself thinking it but this beer could do with a wee boost of sourness. Maybe I am getting the hang of this stuff after all.

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