I am flat-out delighted that TAHOE MOUNTAIN BREWING are on the friggin' scene. A couple of months ago I was waxing prosaic in this space about their "Barrel-Aged Smoked Maibock", which I called "the best non-IPA beer I'd had in all of 2015 so far". And it's true! These folks don't seem to be kicking off their business with the whole IPA/pale ale/amber/stout hoo-hah one might expect from a brewer catering to skiers and sunbathers and lake-swimmers. Nope, they're all about the barrel.
Amazingly, there's this Whole Foods over by my parents' house in San Jose that has an enormous "cellar beers" section, easily as good as any bottle shop's, and which has the full bottled Tahoe Mountain lineup. I grabbed a bottle of this "VIEJO ROJO", in hopes that it might even slightly approximate the nirvana gained from that smoked maibock. I mean, talk about preaching to the RateBeer/BA/blog dork crowd - it's a "Flanders Red aged in oak with cherries and blueberries". A beautiful label only ups the desirability. Off to the races.
"Viejo Rojo" pours a burgundy color and was nearly see-through. Tart from note one, but still very sweet from the fruit, especially from the cherries (I don't know where those blueberries are). More sweet than sour, full stop. There are tastes of maple and red wine, but any oaked sensation is more a figment of my expectations, I think, as it's really faint. Then the aftertaste hits, and that's really the only time it feels like a quote-unquote "true" sour/Flanders red. A real pleasant sort of sour, in fact, and Whole Foods' cellaring program notwithstanding, I get the sense this is something you'd want to drink sooner rather than later. Another great achievement from these Belgium-lovin' upstarts. 7.5/10.