Total Score: 8/10
You know that funny feeling you get when you know you’re about to crack open a world class beer and the hairs on the back of your neck stand up? I’m getting that feeling with this Rodenbach Classic Flanders Red Ale, and it could be because their Grand Cru was a spectacular introduction to the style… or it could be that beer is like crack cocaine for me and I have a really, really bad addiction problem… I’m going with the former [yes indeed, good choice me] thanks me [you’re welcome me] you’re welcome yourself me… aaand so forth.
Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip – here’s a top tip: if you’re ever in doubt as to which glass to use with any given beer go with a Duvel tulip.
A: Cloudy red-tinged brown body with a tan head that soon reduces to a thin lace ring. Looks borderline Flanders Oud Bruin, but we’ll forgive it this one appearance transgression, not the poor head though; at 5.2% ABV there should be a head. 6/10.
S: Quite forward with a tart cherry/grape aroma. There are hints of wood from the oak and a light caramel malt base with some bread yeast, but overall the pervading sense is one of dry astringent tartness [I’m puckering my face in anticipation]. 8/10.
T: Once again Rodenbach did well to keep the tartness in check with this brew taking on more of a vinegary slant than the Grand Cru (which was more grape-aid). Notes of burnt caramel, wood and cherry are hinted to in the background… actually the burnt caramel is a bit more noticeable than the other background notes, you get the idea. Finishes quite dry and moreish like the Grand Cru, hmmm. 8/10.
M: Almost identical to the Grand Cru: mid to light body, hmm, slightly watery, with a nicely dense carbonation. 7/10.
D: Well there isn’t a great deal of separation between the Grand Cru and Classic bar that the Grand Cru is much more interesting and flavoursome. Don’t get me wrong [get me right!] Rodenbach Classic is a tasty Flanders Red, however one will instinctively draw comparison between Classic and Grand Cru and the latter nails it whilst the former is decent enough but not nearly as great. I will say one thing: Rodenbach Classic goes down very easy, but with the slightest challenge from the astringent aspects that you feel like you’ve glimpsed into the eyes of greatness, found a tart granny smith apple in a golden chalice, with some angels standing around it, and licked the juices dripping forth from the sacred receptacle… or something quasi-mystical along those lines. 9/10.
Food match: A selection of cheeses arranged on a platter would suffice.