Australian craft beer and specialty beer drinkers have come to love and appreciate the world of sour and flemish red ales. Rodenbach is the undisputed market leader of the sour and flemish red ale category and it’s easy to know why with such a long history of brewing.
Established in 1821 in the West Flemish town of Roeselare, Rodenbach is an award-winning brewery, producing mixed-fermentation beer in the traditional Belgian style. Large, carefully constructed oak barrels, known as foeders are used slow down the maturation process. The slow entry of oxygen molecules allows the biochemical transformation to occur that produces dry, fruity, and acidic beer over two years. This process was originally developed to extend the storage life of the beer; brewers would deliberately sour beers by cutting young, fermented beer with an older, mature ale. Flagship beer, the Classic Rodenbach is crafted with one-quarter old, mature beer and three-quarters young beer. Yeast and bacteria live in the pores of the oak barrels and these are carried between batches, giving the brewery its unique flavour profile.
Current brewmaster, Rudi Ghequire is actively involved in protecting and promoting Flemish, mixed-fermentation beer. Achieving his Masters in World Wine, Rudi notes that there is much more flexibility in the brewing process as he can make creative decisions about the raw ingredients, production methods and blending. Because each foeder produces slightly different flavour compounds, blending them produces the recognisable Rodenbach taste. Rudi and his team start this process by creating a ‘mother blend’ of aged beer, entirely by taste before adding young beer to form the ideal combination. Rudi describes the methods used at the brewery as the ‘triangle of taste: sweetness, dryness and acidity.’ The blending process reduces the acidity of the beer and creates the famous flavours of Rodenbach.
Rodenbach’s principal beer, the Classic Rodenbach, matures in feoders for two years to nurture a complex fruitiness, comparable to wine. It is refreshing and easy to drink with notes of apple, oak, and caramel. This Flanders Red Ale stimulates the appetite and the acids in the beer aid digestion. Heron Beverages stocks Rodenbach Classic in 250mL cans – perfect for this festive season.
Things are not always what they seem.
Take Rodenbach, for instance: despite its dark looks, it is a surprisingly light and fresh beer. So let’s raise our glass to the unexpected! May it never cease to surprise us.
Rodenbach Classic sets the bar for Flemish red-brown ales. This ale owes its sweet and sour fruitiness and refreshing taste to the fact that it is partially matured in oak casks.