March seems like a lifetime ago - and it was for Ted (see 8 month old Ted, in punk pose, below). It's been that long since I took time to write a Beer of the Month.
Verhaeghe Duchesse De Bourgogne, with it's classic Flemish "Golden Age" painting
label that hints at something very special inside the small 25cl bottle, was the beer of that month. How I didn't head straight to the computer to tell the world, nobody knows. Not only was it the beer of the month, it is most likely my beer of the year (don't stop visiting just yet tohught, the SOBA Homebrew Championship
may well come up with something to trump it).
Tasted 24/03/2007. 25cl bottle from Rumble’s, Wellington. 6.2%. Sour cherry aroma, a touch of brett mustiness and oak. Lacy light tan head sits firm atop this ruddy garnet coloured ale. Lots of fruity, cherry-like fruit sweetness and sugar up front with lovely sour and astringent balance - a touch of oaky astringency cuts through first, followed by a lingering, yet mild, 9-volt acidic fruit bite. Sourness tingles between mouthfeels. A little sweetness lingers the longest. Balanced and very drinkable. Excellent beer. Before, during or after dinner... but probably not for breakfast. Re-tasted at a Sour Ale study session on 03/05/2007. The standout beer of the evening. Outstanding beer with hints of fruitcake crusts and a sublimely complex balance of sweet, sour and tannic astringency. Upped a point each for every aspect (4.4/5.0).
As a nice confirmation of my own excitement, the Duchesse was comfortably the highest scoring beer at any
session of this year's Wellington BJCP
group tastings (if I remember rightly, all judges were in the high 40's out of 50).
The brewery's low-key website, here
, looks informative but is hardly worth visiting unless you read Dutch.
I wrote a little more on De Bourgogne
in my fortnightly piece on 'Not PC'. However, my limited writing ability and palate can't fully express how great this beer is. It is as well-crafted as any drink you could ever taste, and it's well under $10 a bottle.
If my recommendation is not enough:
Else, try it for yourself (in stock at Regional Wines and Spirits right now).
What else did I like in March:
Labels: Beer, Beer of the Month