Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sours on Christmas Eve

Well, guess I decided to write about Christmas Eve instead of the Bell's event. Too lazy to get the pictures off my camera right now mostly. For Christmas Eve, I decided to do a sours theme because I wanted to see how the two Captain Lawrence beers were tasting and I needed to get the bottle of Duchesse de Bourgogne out of my beer fridge.

I started with the Cuvee De Castleton as the base for it is a blonde ale and I thought it would be the lightest flavored. It's aged with muscat grapes.
Musty nose with a bit of grape in it. Quite inviting. Super tart but no mustiness in the first sip with a bit of grapey sweetness. Pretty dry finish. Continued along those lines with a perfectly balanced tartness never becoming to dry or acetic. Really delicious.

Next was the Rosso E Marrone also from Captain Lawrence, this one with a flemish red base and aged with a different style of grape.
Way sharper nose, way more vinegar notes along with some oak from the barrels. Starts way more sour with less tartness though the grape notes are still there. No hint of brett in this one. It was way more acetic than Castleton and just a different style of sour. Still really tasty just in a different way.

Last was a bottle of Duchess de Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe in Belgium, a Flanders Red Ale.
This is a traditional Flanders Red from Belgium so is sort of a base example for the style. Maybe it's because I'm used to sharper sours but I didn't like this a ton. Slightly acetic nose with a lot of caramel in the back. Sweet up front, followed by some slight vinegar notes, then a huge caramel apple finish. Jo thought it tasted a little like cotton candy. As I drank more, the sugary sweetness started getting to me and didn't make me want to drink more of it. I still finished it, but it wasn't great. I just didn't find that caramel apple note terribly appealing. As an intro to sour stuff, it would probably work, but it's not for me.

I had some other stuff planned but we never got to it on Christmas Eve. Still, super glad I opened the two Captain Lawrence bottles as they were both quite delicious in their own ways. I really liked the Castleton but others liked the Rosso as much. As they were quite different, it makes sense. No one was really high on the Duchesse mostly because of the caramel apple sweetness but maybe if I had opened it first it would have gone over better. Who knows.

Look for a whole lot more after the New Years as I still have some other stuff from Christmas plus Jo and I are going to a bunch of brewpubs in VA over the next few days.


  1. The Rosso was my favorite! Thanks for doing the sour tastings. Yum!

  2. I'm always happy when I can share some stuff. I liked the Castleton more but I think I lean more towards the less acidic and more tart / funky sours which is why I also like Russian River Temptation a lot.