This week’s Throwdown almost didn’t happen…remember boys and girls, check your fridge before you commit to having something on hand. I have more sour beers than I can drink in one sitting, but everything else in the fridge is either belgian golden or Steamworks’ Colorado Kolsch. In an effort to throw two like styled beers into the ring, I had a dilemma.
Fast forward to today, and we’re on like Donkey Kong, or whatever the kids are saying these days. Thanks to Coaltrain Wine and Spirits, I have two different Flanders Red ales, but from the same brewery: Brouwerij Verhaeghe from Belgium.
In the Red corner, just because the crown has a red logo, we have Vichtenaar. This Flanders Red is “matured in oak casks, (and) has a fruity palate, pleasant sour flavor and refreshing finish.” Sounds promising, but I won’t get ahead of myself.
In the Blue corner, because that’s the only other corner, we have Duchesse de Bourgogne. This pretty lady has been staring at me from both the beer fridge and the cellar for some time now, and I can’t wait to take her out! Being a blend of both 8 and 18 month old beers matured in oak casks, this may be just the one to take on Vichtenaar.
Color: ruby red
Fermentation: mixed fermentation(secondary lagering)
Alcohol: 6.2 % alc. vol.
Vichtenaar: fruity, some sour, a slight funk, and some wet wood
Duchesse de Bourgogne: cleanly sour, some vinegar, cherry pie
Vichtenaar: Noticeably higher carbonation. Not as much head retention, taste is smooth, slightly sweet with a sour oaky funk at the end and more cherry pie flavor than I expected.
Duchesse de Bourgogne: smooth yet sour, very clean tasting as well as refreshing.
This fight wasn’t fair from the start. Duchesse has the advantage of being a blend of two matured beers, which can bring out the best qualities of each starter beer. Being the ugly younger brother, Vichtenaar just can’t keep up. In the end, its dull woody character I found to be the least appealing, while Duchesse did her hair, makeup and dressed the part.
Winner of Fight of the Flanders is Duchesse de Bourgogne. Go try out these beers, and tell me what you think!
Thursday Throwdown actually happened on a Thursday this week. Next week, you should be reading this on your Thursday lunch break. I’m thinking of revisiting the gourds next week.