Last April, Brouwerij Rodenbach rereleased a beer that was originally brewed in 1986 to commemorate one of the brewery’s founding brother’s 200th birthday.

The beer was Alexander, a 5.6 percent Flanders-style ale that is made up of a blend of two-year-old matured beer from oak standing foeders and young ale, all of which was macerated with sour cherries before being packaged in 750ml bottles.

Debuting in 1986, the sour ale was last released in 2000 and pays tribute to co-founder Alexander Rodenbach, whose portrait is printed on the bottle. In fact, there were four brothers—Alexander, Constantijn, Ferdinand and Pedro—all of whom joined their efforts to open the Belgium-based brewery in 1821.

Rodenbach Alexander (2016) bottle

“We were inspired to brew Rodenbach Alexander over two years ago, due in large part to the popular requests among beer connoisseurs, bar owners and beer lovers throughout the United States,” said Rudi Ghequire, master brewer at Rodenbach, in a press release.  “Rodenbach Alexander pays homage to one of our original founders, rewards our loyal customers and simultaneously allows a new generation of craft beer lovers to try our beers.”

According to Rodenbach, the newest incarnation of Alexander was supposedly the first in a special draft and bottle sour program that would see more beers released throughout 2016. However, as of now, there have not been any other releases in the series.

Visually, the Rodenbach Alexander pours a deep burgundy red with a finger and a half of pink head that sticks around quite a while before leaving a thick lacing behind. There seems to be plenty of carbonation in the glass, and aroma from the glass is combination of strong vinegar, black pepper, sweet cherries, oak and earth.

Rodenbach Alexander (2016)

From the first sip, I knew I was in for a treat, as the profile alternates between a distinct candy cherry sweetness on the palate and an acetic vinegar note on the finish. Other flavors of creamy oak, white pepper, earth, raspberries and red wine flit in and out, but the main star of the show is the interplay between the sweet and sour, neither of which dominates to the other any any point. Carbonation is excellent, and while the profile did become a bit sweeter as the beer warmed, it was not enough to upset the balance that the profile exhibited.

Rodenbach Alexander (2016)
BREWERY: Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
LOCATION: Roeselare, Belgium
STYLE: Flanders Red Ale
ABV: 5.6 percent
IBU: n/a
PRICE: $14.99
RELEASE DATE: April 2016
AVAILABLE IN: 750ml bottles
This is quite simply one of the best examples of the Flanders-style beer I have ever tasted. In fact, while the signature vinegar note is definitely still present on the finish, it is cut nicely by both the creamy oak note and candy cherry sweetness that is dominant on the palate. Carbonation was just about perfect for the style, and it only got better as it warmed up. A truly balanced sour that I will be seeking out to stock up on, especially at the price it is selling for.
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