Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour Ale

Monk’s Café Flemish Sour Ale 5.5% ABVMonk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale
Flanders Oud Bruin
Van Steenberge Brewery (private label brewed for Monk’s Café)

I put the lip of the tulip glass filled with this sour ale directly under my nose and inhaled deeply.  I was expecting a novel aroma, but a normal Belgian brew scent is what entered my nostrils.

My first taste was different, causing vocal expression of what my taste buds where experiencing.  A “wow” came from my lips, not the type of exclamation upon seeing a superb woman wearing a beautiful dress, but rather an exclamation of unexpected and interesting novelty.  This beer is sour for sure.  Not unduly so, though.

The beer has an exceptionally unique flavor to it.  It is potently sour, but still well balanced as to not be pucker-inducing.  I can’t imagine having more than one of these in a sitting and for once I’m not disappointed by a bottle containing only 11.2 ounces of beer.

It has a visceral effect upon my senses.  It causes my eyes to squint and shutter, and every sip is like the first upon my taste buds.  My palate has yet to become accustomed to the flavor, granted I’m only 4 sips in.  This is not a beer to chug or gulp, polish off hastily or down in a hurry.  Though the alcohol content is moderate, the intense sour flavor will cause you to regret anything but a slow savoring of this brew.

I would never have tried out this beer of my own volition.  Another special thanks to my sister and brother in law for sending me this beer along with 11 others for my birthday.  I truly mean it when I say, “Wow.”  I’m rather enjoying this beer tasting.  I won’t be buying this one on the regular but it is definitely worth trying at least once, and I can see myself seeking out this brew every several months or so.

As I get towards the bottom of the glass, my palate is slowly beginning to dull to the deep sour flavor.  Don’t get me wrong it is still very much present, it just doesn’t illicit the same physical reactions as the first few sips did.

Monk’s Café is a Belgian Beer Emproium and Restaurant located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  They were able to get the family-owned Van Steenberge brewery located near Ghent, Belgium to brew this beer specifically for them.  Monk’s Café serves it on tap at their location and the demand was strong enough for it to be bottled and sold across the U.S.  Sour beers are not very numerous as far as I know.  There is only a handful or so, that I’m aware of, that can be procured in Illinois.  I can’t imagine any of the others being as good as this one, although I may have to find out for sure.

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