For centuries, the traditional beer of Flanders was a dark, sour ale aged in oak casks at the brewery. Today Flemish Red Ale is more popular than ever. These beers have a strong intense taste of plum, prune, raisin and raspberry with some spiciness. The sour taste can range from moderate to strong.
The origin of the Flemish Red Ales goes back to the Middle Ages, even before the introduction of hop. The brewers of Flanders used ‘gruut’ to add bitterness and flavour to their beer. This mixture of herbs contained – among other things – sage, rosemary, coriander, cinnamon, bay leaf, orange and lemon peel. The famous Gruuthuse in Bruges is a reminder of those times. The Lords of Gruuthuse collected substantial taxes on the gruut on behalf of the Count of Flanders.
As there was no hop in the beers, they were very vulnerable to decay. To overcome this problem, the beer was often matured in oak barrels giving it sour and fruity aromas. The matured beer was then blended with young beer. Today, Flemish Red Ales age in the famous oak barrels known as Foeders. The process is often unpredictable as the microorganisms produce acids and esters that can be very sour. In the correct blend however, they compose a truly sublime beer. The Petrus Sour Beers of Brewery De Brabandere are the perfect illustration of this process.
Let’s start with Petrus Aged Pale. This beer ages for 24 months in oak foeders. Ever since the start of the brewery, it has been used to blend with other beers adding fresh and sour flavours and aromas. The beer is actually also very delicious when tasted on its
own as a 100% foeder beer. Fun fact: Michael Jackson, the beer hunter, was the first to offer this beer to his customers in his famous beer clubs.
De Brabandere also has a typical Flemish Red Ale, known as Petrus Roodbruin. This beer is a blend the Petrus Aged Pale (33%) and young brown beer (67%). The young dark beer gives the blend its reddish-brown colour. The Aged Pale is responsble for the slightly sour flavour of the beer.
Another famous blend is the Petrus Aged Red. The Petrus Aged Pale (15%) is mixed with a double brown beer with sour cherries(85%). The result is a full-bodied beer with a perfect sweet-sour balance, fruity and refreshingly sour at the same time.
The most exciting part however, is that you can take your sour beer experience to the next level with the beers of Brewery De Brabandere. Be your own brewmaster and create your personal blend with the three Petrus beers. Taste, blend and taste again until you reach your level of sour beer perfection.