It didn’t happen the first time I had DUCHESSE DE BOURGOGNE. It didn’t even happen the first time I tried the sour beer lineup from RUSSIAN RIVER. But I knew it was gonna happen – there was going to be that one sour ale that was going to knock me for a loop and make me a full-on believer in their power. That beer, my friends, is MONK’S CAFÉ FLEMISH SOUR ALE. Oh, my friends who’d had it told me what would happen. They said this was one of the best beers going, and they were right. Brewed for Philadelphia’s renown Belgian beer bar MONK’S CAFÉ by the VAN STEENBERGE BREWERY just outside of Ghent, Belgium, FLEMISH SOUR ALE just coats the tongue in puckering, mouth-pleasing smoothness. It is a dark amber beer that I’d have to say is fairly mild overall in its sourness, but it is miles away from the layman's beer. It's incredibly delicious and I felt like a full-on gourmand while ingesting it.
Here’s something I found about the beer on the internet, penned by Jason & Todd Almstrom, the fellas behind Beer Advocate.com and the magazine:
Philadelphia is home to Monk's Café, one of America's top havens for Belgian beer lovers. The emporium is co-operated by Tom Peters and Fergus Carey, whose love for Belgian beer and food runs deep. How deep? So deep that Peters had a beer commissioned by Brouwerij Van Steenberge, the same brewery that brings us Gulden Draak and Piraat. From our understanding, Monk's Café Flemish Sour Red Ale is actually Van Steenberge's Bios Vlaamse Bourgogne ("Flemish Burgundy") -- Tom convinced them to bottle it under a private label. Despite all of the "red" references, it's actually an Oud Bruin, a style of ale that hails from the Flanders region of Belgium…… Leathery, with deep ruby hues. A creamy, beige, two-finger head that laces, retains and sticks well. Sour in the nose and quite vinous, with mildly fruity undertones of lime rinds and funky phenols. The puckering tartness -- it really gets your saliva glands going -- cuts through with an acidic smack that's akin to lemon-lime juice with a salty edge. Dry, ultra-crisp and thin-bodied. A big oak note in the center amplifies the tartness and brings with it a woody edge. Suggestions of bitter cherries and raisins, even though there's no fruit in the beer. Slightly medicinal and metallic as the beer warms. No real sweetness or maltiness to speak of -- it's all about the sour. Finish is dry and surprisingly clean.
I’d agree with that, although I’d say it all with at least three or four times as much enthusiasm. This is one of my favorite beers right now, and folks, it’s being imported into America. It’s fantastic. 10/10.