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Kerkom Reuss

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So we continue our tour through the swanky realm of Belgian style ales blended with a small proportion of lambic. In this case, Brouwerij Kerkom takes a less bitter version of their standard Belgian Pale Ale and blends in about 20% lambic. Sourcing details are sketchy, but rumor has it that the initial batch was from Drie Fonteinen (perhaps another consequence of the infamous thermostat incident), while subsequent batches vary. Some say Girardin, some say Boon, others say they are sworn to secrecy. The beer is named after the first beer brewed at Kerkom, way back in 1878.

Kerkom Reuss

Brouwerij Kerkom Reuss - Pours a bright golden yellow color with several fingers of fluffy, big bubbled head and lots of visible carbonation. Bottle wasn't quite a gusher, but that cork came out with authority and if I didn't pour quickly, it would have overflowed. Smells quite nice, musty Belgian yeast, spicy and fruity with an earthy component and that lambic twang. Taste hits those fruity esters pretty hard, lightly tart, but it's brought into check by the spicy Belgian yeast and a bit of earthiness in the middle, finishing again on that tart note. Mouthfeel is highly carbonated and effervescent, but crisp and refreshing, light to medium bodied, very approachable. Overall, this is fantastic and strikes a good balance with the blended lambic. A-

Beer Nerd Details: 6.5% ABV bottled (750 ml caged and corked). Drank out of a tulip glass on 10/22/16. Bottled 07 04 15 (from the cork).

Kerkom actually makes a beer called Bink Grand Cru which is one of my favorite Belgian Beer Roulette discoveries, even if I haven't seen it around in a while. I should seek out another bottle of that stuff, and might as well try out some of their other offerings. They're two for two so far, s

Bink Grand Cru

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It's been a while since I've played Belgian beer roulette, so I figured I'd take a flier on this beer, cryptically designated a "Grand Cru". Just what is a Grand Cru, you ask? That's an excellent question; it doesn't mean anything.

In wine, the phrase is clearly organized and regulated. It refers to the highest level of vinyard classification. Something about terroir. I don't know, what is this, a wine blog? The point is that while it's formally defined for wine, it was basically adopted in the beer world as a marketing tactic. Most beers labeled as Grand Cru seem to be imply that it's a style, but that's not at all the case. You can get a Belgian Strong Pale, like the 9.5% ABV Southampton Grand Cru, or today's beer, Bink Grand Cru, which is a 13% ABV Belgian Strong Dark monster, or even Rodenbach Grand Cru, which is a sour Flanders Red weighing in at just 6.5% ABV. That's a pretty disparate range of flavors and styles right there.

I suppose you could say that it generally represents an improved or more elaborate offering than the brewer normally makes, perhaps their "grandest" beer. Or not. Like I said, there's no actual rules for what constitutes a grand cru in the beer world. So roulette it certainly is, with Brouwerij Kerkom's winter beer (aka Winterkoninkske!) in my glass:

Bink Grand Cru

Bink Grand Cru - Pours a very dark brown, almost black color with minimal light tan head. Nose smells quite sweet, a little Belgian yeast character, maybe some molasses, a lot of chocolate. The taste is filled with rich, sweet, dark malts, a little spice, a hint of dark fruit, and again with that big chocolate character. Oh, and booze. Very boozy. Intense flavors all around, but not overwhelming. Mouthfeel is surprisingly well carbonated for such a big beer, making it seem perhaps a bit less heavy than it really is, which is actually nice. Spice and booze make themselves felt, but nothing too unweildly. The booze also warms things up a bit, maybe just a hint of burn in the mouth. Full bodied, but not super chewy or anything. It's a sipping beer, but it's not hard to drink. I wouldn't call it well balanced, but it's working pretty well. Overall, big, complex, uncommon flavor profile, I enjoyed it upon first taste, but it just got better as I drank, which is nice for such a big beer. A-

Beer Nerd Details: 13% ABV bottled (750 ml caged and corked). Drank out of a snifter on 12/7/12.

This actually reminded me a little of Tired Hands' Westy 13, though it's got a more chocolate and booze component than Tired Hands' brew. Ok, so maybe it's just that they're both 13% and dark and rich. Still, both are excellent. Another successful session of Belgian Beer Roulette, and I live to play again.

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the Kerkom category.

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