“I will pay great sums to consume Rodenbach, which is a miracle of a beer from Belgium. A miraculous powdery apple flavor. Those Rodenbach yeast have an IQ of at least two hundred. Fucking genius yeast.” –attributed to Luca Turin
A little over 20 years ago, the independent brewery Rodenbach was acquired by Palm, a public conglomerate. Back then, sour beers were not trendy. Ravers wanted alco-pop, and defenders of tradition were afraid Palm would rationalize the guts of the Rodenbach brewery out of existence.
Preservation arts on a cottage scale tend to be replete with little accidental inefficiencies. Old, labor-intensive vessels, random outcomes of batch aging; it adds to the mystique. Even if Palm “intended” to keep Rodenbach just as it was circa 1990, how could it?
Rudi Ghequire begs to differ.
I don’t have an opinion about all that. I’m just drinking these beers on the first full day of Spring, 2021, a Sunday.
Rodenbach Classic, 500ml can. $2.99 at Western MKT
This is wine, right? I mean, it tastes like gassy Jura Pinot Noir. A little drop of caramel was added, perhaps, but this is red wine flavored beer. Notes: strawberry jam, plantain resin, pecan dust. It’s good. It could be a good tennis beer on a chilly day. You can walk to a taqueria after. It’s sweet enough to pair with hot chilis. 3.8/5
Rodenbach Grand Cru, 330ml bottle. $3.99 at Western MKT
This is much, much better wine. Grand Cru Burgundy, from a great vintage, stored improperly. Beautiful broad oak vanilla, like a sweet Mouton Rothschild, ripe cherry juice, sour and grave. It’s quite sweet, too. Almost syrupy. If it were a little drier (and dirtier) I could imagine it might earn a perfect score. 4.1/5