The royal lady of Burgundy approaches...After thinking about the Duchesse de Bourgogne when tasting the Red Poppy by Lost Abbey, I knew I had to conduct a tasting and review immediately. While I have enjoyed this beer many times, most recently last month on tap at Encinitas Ale House, I wanted to try it within a day of the fantastic American counterpart. So without further ado...
Brouwerj Verhaeghe Duchesse de Bourgogne (Flanders Red Ale) 6.2% ABV: Raw, proofing sourdough bread dough. I just love that smell. Sour cherry and red currant on nose and palate. Notes of maple syrup and a comforting nuttiness. This a lovely, high-quality beer.
Would pair beautifully with cherries flambe, vanilla ice cream with cherries, and fruit cobblers. Sweeter palate than expected from the nose. The sourness develops as it warms, a welcome shift. As I noted in the previous post, I find Duchesse sweeter on tap. This is a MUST try for all Belgian beer lovers, and for those wine drinkers standing with their toe on the line of beer.
FYI: This famous and beloved Flanders beer is placed in oak barrels for 18 months of aging. The bottling includes a blending of beer aged 8 months with a portion aged the full 18 months.
Lindemans Cuvée René (Gueuze) 5% ABV: Thought of as an introductory gueuze in sour-loving circles, the Lindemans gueuze is a far cry from the sweet fruit lambics they are so famous for. Tart Granny Smith apple, green, unripe pear, lemon, and yeast dominate the nose. Follows through on the palate, with a definite lemon tartness prevailing. Think of sucking on a lemon. If you like that kind of thing, (which I do!) then you will like this gueuze. For those of you yet to dive into the world of sours, I am sticking to my earlier opinion that St. Louis Gueuze Fond Tradition is the better seque beer.
North Coast Brother Thelonious (Dubbel): 9.4% ABV: This beer does and will forever remind me of New Orleans. The first time I ever tasted it was years ago in New Orleans, and it is consistently on tap at my favorite beer bar in the Big Easy, The Avenue Pub. Miss you Polly! And besides the fact that I LOVE Thelonious Monk, a portion of the proceeds from this beer go to fund the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. I'm all about it.
A rich, luscious interpretation of the Dubbel style. Raisin, dried currant, date, baking spice, caramel, and toffee on the nose. All of these aspects follow through on the palate with a dominance of the baking spice and toffee with the addition of sweet tobacco on the finish. This is a fall, blustery, leaves-dropping beer. I have spent several a fall and winter evening cozying up at the Avenue or at home under blankets with this beer. Much richer than the Affligem Dubbel of 3 days previous. Will be interesting to look at more of the classic Belgian Dubbels in comparison/contrast, such as Westmalle, Rochefort, Maredsous, and St. Bernardus. Stay tuned!