Rodenbach Caractère Rouge is a newer project from the venerable old Flemish Red producer. Created in collaboration with Antwerp Chef Viki Geunes of ‘t Zilte, the restaurant at the top of the famous MAS art museum, Caractère Rouge represents peak of Rodenbach’s line. Initially created in 2011, it is the first fruited beer Rodenbach has created since they discontinued the by now legendary Alexander beer.
Aged for 2 years in oak foeders, Caractère Rouge is then allowed an additional 6 months of aging on whole cherries, raspberries, and cranberries before it’s re-fermented in the bottle to condition it. Although not specifically dated, this bottle was from the 2012 vintage.
Appearance: Hazy amber with purple tones, tan head with pink tinges, ok retention.
Aroma: Raspberries, cherry, liqueur, currants, brown sugar, caramel/toffee, earthy/woody undertones.
Taste: Brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, cranberries, cherry, cinnamon, nutmeg, raspberries, a hint of soy “umami” in the finish.
Overall Impression: This is indeed a lovely sour beer with just a hint of sweetness to round out the profile with a very long finish. The sourness is magnified noticeably by the cranberries. The fruit plays a starring role providing an expressive bouquet of dark fruit. This beer is the opposite side of the coin from the Rodenbach Vintage. Both are complex and deep. While the Vintage is funky, dark, and moody; Caractère Rouge is bright, lively, and exciting. This may not be as funky as some people are looking for in a Flemish Red, but it’s certainly a wonderfully crafted beer that I look forward to drinking again, hopefully while dining at ‘t Zilte.
Availability: Highly limited, imported by Latis Imports.
Note: Best By Date – 18/04/16 (April 18, 2016)