As I was tooling through a local bottle shop I came across a few bottles of Rodenbach Caractère Rouge. The price of admission was pretty steep at over 20 beans, but how could I say no? The description on the bottle was ale with cranberries, raspberries, and sour cherries aged in oak vats. The story is a little more than that, the beer is traditional Rodenbach aged for two years and then an additional 6 months with the fruits. At 7% ABV this one is not going to knock you for a loop and with the fruits and tart it is quite refreshing. This is certainly not the breweries first foray into fruit sours. Many will remember Rodenbach Alexander which was heaven in a glass. When Palm purchased Rodenbach the beer disappeared. The story goes Palm already had another brewery who made a cherry beer so they could not continue due to competition. I doubt that is the truth. If that was true they would have never came out with Rodenbach Redbach. Redbach was a low alcohol cherry brew which I actually loved. At 3.5% ABV you could enjoy a ton of it and the tartness was quite refreshing.
But I digress, so back to the discussion of Caractère Rouge. This was quite a beer. The tartness was nice and restrained while the fruits were pleasant and wonderful. I did find the mid-palate flavor to be slightly one-dimensional, but that’s just me. I’d suggest any sour fan or Rodenbach fan should try to get their hands on this puppy. There were 20K bottles sent to the US. That’s only 400 per state and if you figure a case is probably six bottles there should be around 50 stores in each state where it is distributed with some hanging out. I suspect we did not get much of this in NC, but I do know I grabbed one. Give it a try, if you are a fan you will not be disappointed!