Friday, November 18, 2011

De Proef Brouwerij - Reinaert Flemish Wild Ale Review

Brewery: De Proef Brouwerij (BEL)
Style: Belgian Pale Ale / Sour
ABV: 9.0%
Grade: B+

My obsession with sour beers leads to some weird situations. Like here: Reinaert Flemish Wild Ale is a good beer that I can't help but be vaguely disappointed by. As with many other similar beers, it's great for what it is, but somewhat misleading as far as "wild" things go. This one has fermented so clean and dry that it's almost as smooth-drinking as a lager; it lacks the 'funk' I expected. That bite only starts to come in as the beer really warms; for a while, I might have almost thought I was drinking a regular Belgian.

But I may be a bit crazy. I tend to enjoy extremes. Prominent flavors and aroma are of pear and green apple, and there's a bit of a cider feel here. A good deal of Reinaert's Belgian character remains, which both detracts from and/or makes up for the lack of Brett. As a Belgian Pale Ale, this is well done. Maybe not overly complex, but highly drinkable, satisfying, and interesting enough.

At some point you remember that, oh right, this is 9%. Not really surprising, but it's hidden remarkably well — any faint alcohol bite hits at the same time as the carbonation and just blends in with that. Smooth, interesting, and tasty, Reinaert has a lot going for it. But as a wild ale, it's very mild. I suspect another year or two of aging in the bottle would do great things here, so maybe consider that. Or just enjoy it if you're in the mood for a fine Belgian ale.  

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