Biking is a great metaphor for life’s ins and outs. Take your trails for instance. If you’re riding the same one for weeks on end it can get dull and tiresome. Not that riding is tiresome but often we just need something different to break up the repetition and revive our minds. Today we’ll do just that and venture into the interesting world of sour beers. Quit puckering your mouth, we haven’t even started!
The Duchesse in her humble abode
Today we’ll sneak a peak at Duchesse De Bourgogne(pronounced Doo-shay). It’s a Belgian ale that comes from the Verhaeghe Brewery in Vichte. It’s named after Mary of Burgundy, who died at the early age of 25 when she fell off her horse while hunting with her falcon. Obviously she didn’t read my article on wearing a helmet. Stuuuuuupid! Interestingly, this brew was one of the few hand picked beers to be served at the crown Prince of Denmark’s wedding in 2004. Very ladee dah!
This is billed as a Flemish Red Ale which is appropriate as it is red and…well, an ale. It’s is supposed to be served in a snifter to accentuate the spicy aromas. The brewers used minimal hops and maximum roasted malts, but the roasted flavors are subtle and mature. The ale is brewed in 80-year-old oak barrels to further heighten the flavor, but how do they make it taste sour? Sour beers are brewed without yeast which lends it a balsamic vinegar taste. Very odd but intriguing.
Be warned, the smell and the initial taste are ferociously sour. I believe my first impression was “Good Gawd, what the hell?!”. But as you continue to drink you realize what a gem this little eccentricity is. It’s like someone backhanding you across the face and then offering a nice warm blanket. Puzzling yet tasty. It’s actually quite delicious once you get used to the sourness. My wife surprised me by ordering two. It has a rich, aged flavor that is silky smooth. You’ll probably only find this at select breweries and I haven’t even seen it any beverage marts I go to. But if you do see the name somewhere, have a try…new trails are the spice of life!