By William Brand
Friday, August 1st, 2008 at 1:50 pm in Uncategorized.
Coming to a pub near you next week…Ommegang Rouge. According to Ommegang Bay Area rep Joshua Charlton, the beer’s a traditional Grand Cru Flemish Red Ale, made in Belgium by Brewery Bockor, a family-owned West Flanders brewery, which makes a variety of spontaneously fermented beers. The beer was brewed by Bockor under supervision of Ommegang brewmaster Phil Leinhart. It was spontaneously fermented, using wild yeast from the air settling on the wort in an open “coolship”, then aged for 18 months in French Oak tuns.
Sounds interesting indeed. Checked all the usual beer rating sites and found opinions about other Bockor beers all over the map, plus and minus. The Oxford Bottled Beer Database, an English site, likes a couple of Bockor beers, including Jacobins Gueuze Lambic, which they rated as somewhere between the very best and the ordinary (I’m paraphrasing here.) Tim Webb in Good Beer Guide to Belgium gives Bocker beers two and three stars. He notes the coolship and says they some large, wooden tuns. He wonders why they’re aren’t put to use to make great beer.
Perhaps, with the encouragement of Ommegang’s Leinhart they have. Or maybe they already do and the guide needs updating, although the beer rating posts seem not to have detected any vary changes.
The seminal West Flanders red ale, by the way, is Rodenbach Grand Cru, which can be found in bottles and on tap around Northern California after a long absence. Rodenbach, which is owned by Palm, a large Belgian brewer, on July 22 changed importers from Ommegang. Is this the reason for Ommegang Rouge? Who knows. From the press release:
Latis Imports, founded by two former InBev executives David van Wees and Anthony Giardina, is growing its Belgian portfolio with an announcement today that it will gain import rights to the coveted RODENBACH brand. The company will also have import rights to RODENBACH Grand Cru and 2004 Vin de Cereale, a limited run, high-end sour beer.
Word is, we’ll still get plenty of Rodenbach Grand Cru here. Never tried Vin de Cereale, sounds damned interesting. The regular Rodenbach is much diminished from years past, when Rodenbach was independent. That’s my opinion, of course.
Where to find them? On tap or in bottles usually at The Trappist, Oakland, City Beer Store and the Toronado, San Francisco. Also Monk’s Kettle and La Trappe in San Francisco. Over the last few years I’ve developed a list of great Bay Area pubs and retail beer stores. Two lists. Shoot me an e-mail at email@example.com and I’ll send them to you.
Let me open this conversation. Do you like/hate Belgian and American Belgian-style sours? Favorites? Absolutely dogs? Post a comment. Have a good weekend all.