Well, interesting to say the least, but in the end it was disappointing. A difficult beer to review on lots on levels, but I’ll have a go!
Nice bottle presentation in the 750 mL size, $7.99 in lots of Atlanta outlets. This has been in GA for a few months.
On opening, a large amount of carbonation serves to spill quite a substantial amount of the contents over the counter – a little annoying but I can get over it. In the Duvel tulip this has great presence in terms of the head and lacing (EXCELLENT), but the body has a ruddy red, dirty appearance that is less attractive. This color is a pet peeve of mine (a nasty, murky color with some floaties) and without it this would otherwise be a 5 on the appearance score.
Taste and aroma are one and the same. Funky, earthy acidic farmhouse notes. Basically this is a refined Flanders Red with acidity lower than you would find in something like a Rodenbach, but still maintaining the classic English, West Country rural cider notes. Definitely has a countryside feel with plenty of “horse-blanket” and Saison funk – which is very acceptable for the style – but at the same time gives a greater acidity than I would expect.
I’m confused over the style. Biere de Garde to me means 3 Monts and Jenlain. This is “Rodenbach Lite”, a Flanders Red that is less assertive and aggressive with out the drinkability and sweetness I have previously associated with the style. I guess my education continues!
Try it and see what you think.