Monday, November 7, 2011


If you're in the mood for a "Flanders Oud Bruin" - and who isn't a lot of the time - then man do I have a beer for you. Wait a sec - you need a style definition? Well, to me, a Flanders Oud Bruin is a tart brown ale from Belgium that can be manna from the godz when done correctly. If you want a more "pro" definition, here's what Beer Advocate has to say:

Oud Bruins, not restricted to, but concentrated in Flanders, are light to medium-bodied, deep copper to brown in colour. They are extremely varied, characterized by a slight vinegar or lactic sourness and spiciness to smooth and sweet. A fruity-estery character is apparent with no hop flavor or aroma. Low to medium bitterness. Very small quantities of diacetyl are acceptable. Roasted malt character in aroma and flavor is acceptable, at low levels. Oak-like or woody characters may be pleasantly integrated into overall palate. Typically old and new Brown ales are blended, like Lambics.

And don't do what I did and confuse these with the "Flanders Red Ale". I was about to annoint the beer we're about to discuss today, BOCKER BELLEGEMS BRUIN, as the heir to the ZOETZUUR FLEMISH ALE from De Proef, until this stylistic fork in the road came up. But let me convince you folks: it's totally in that league. Bellegems Bruin is from a heretofore unknown brewery to me called Brouwerij Bocker N.V., and it comes in a 12-ounce bottle with a couple old-timers sluggin' 'em back on the front. Truth be told, it was recommended to me by Dave Hauslein at Healthy Spirits in San Francisco, and astute beer-drinkers know that guy don't lie.

BOCKER BELLEGEMS BRUIN, to make matters confusing, is dubbed by its creators as a West Flanders Ale. It's sweet up front, and sour on the back. Seriously - just that simple - and amazing. It's a medium bodied ale with a faint woodiness in the taste. Much sweeter than I'd expected, but not cloying in the least. Figs, raisins and malty sour notes. Just stunning in every way, and one to absolutely add to your list. 9.5/10.

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