Thursday, October 23, 2014

Monk’s Café Flemish Sour Ale


4.5
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Chad9976 (1203) - Albany, New York, USA - OCT 23, 2014
I’m so used to drinking American sour ales that I’d kind of forgotten the style had originated in Europe. Monk’s Café Flemish Sour Ale is an authentic, Old World style sour beer and I can see why it’s maintained such high popularity all these years. A delicious palette of fruits, tartness and sourness. That’s what I call well-balanced.

I poured an 11.2oz bottle into a tulip glass. There was no discernible freshness date. It cost $5.49 ($0.49 per ounce).

Appearance: Dark brown hue, opaque, but with maroon highlights. Pours to a large, tan, frothy head which laces and retains very well.

Smell: Sweet, fruity nose akin to sangria. Strong sour presence.

Taste: For such a popular beer, there isn’t much in the way of official description for this brew, so I’m not entirely sure what goes into it. There’s a strong fruity flavor here, especially of black cherries, currants, and raspberries. Is that from the malt, yeast, or bacteria (or is the beer made with those fruits)? There’s a light, but consistent sourness from start to finish. Slightly tart at first, but finishes quite rich and sweet with notes of chocolate and vanilla. I detect the faintest hint of a vinegar character, though it’s more like a raspberry or maple vinaigrette and it works perfectly here.

Drinkability: Sours can be rather intimidating to drink, for newbies and experienced drinkers alike. I had absolutely no trouble throwing back a glass of Monk’s Café Flemish Sour Ale since it was in no way intense or out of control. The mouthfeel is calm, with a smooth texture and finish to match. It leaves an almost completely clean aftertaste, which is a bit of a bummer considering how delicious the beer is while in the mouth (it’d be nice if it hung around a bit). I can’t believe it’s only 5.5% ABV considering how flavorful and full-bodied it is otherwise. 
Grade: 10/10