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Top 100 Beers of 2018

Top 100 Beers of 2018



by Susan Ruud
pFriem Oud Bruin
pFriem Family Brewers

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Co-Founder and Brewmaster Josh Pfriem Talks Oud Bruin

What sets this beer apart from other examples within the style?
We take a fairly traditional approach to this beer; clean fermentation in stainless steel fermentation, then racked into barrels and inoculated with a blend of microflora. The beer ages in foeders and wine barrels for 11⁄2-3 years before blending. After carefully choosing which barrels to blend, the beer then goes through refermentation in the bottle or keg. Conditioning takes up to 3 months to finish. We try to do everything we can to give a nod to tradition, while also always letting our palate drive the beer forward.

What makes this beer truly world class?
We try to do everything we can to make this beer the best it can possibly be, from using high-quality ingredients, excellent brewing processes and taking tender care of it in our wood/cellar program.

What is your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, mouthfeel, etc.)?
The rich, light mouthfeel on this beer, with a touch of tartness embraced by tannins, makes this beer so special.

How popular is this beer among your faithful fans?
Folks that are fans of Flanders and Flanders-inspired beers flock to this beer. We get a lot of positive feedback for our Oud Bruin.

Where does this beer’s name come from?
For most beers at pFriem, we just call them what they are. This beer is inspired by the dark tart beers of Flanders and the Burgundies of Belgium, which are mostly known as Oud Bruins.

Is this your “desert island beer?”
This is not my desert island beer, but it does make for a good companion on cold winter nights by the fireplace.

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Deep crimson, marionberry, apple butter, tobacco, jammy, tannic and lovely.

Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
This beer was inspired by my first trip to Belgium. Traveling the country by bike, I was able to sample many of the great Flanders Reds and Oud Bruins of Flanders. The highlight was walking the foeder halls of Rodenbach. Many years later at pFriem, we purchased our own foeders that are now home to our Belgium-inspired Oud Bruin.

What’s a good food pairing for this beer?
Duck Confit served with brussels sprouts and mustard sauce with a side of pommel de Terre a la Sarladaise.

Judge’s Second Opinion

Designed to be similar to a Flanders Oud Bruin pFriem Family Brewers in Hood River, Oregon did a wonderful job on this sour beer. This brew poured a lovely dark brown/deep copper color with striking red highlights, strikingly clear, and a huge, light tan head leaving behind beautiful white lacing around the glass. This was a gorgeous beer that had me more than ready to dive in.

The upfront aroma was sour and lightly lactic yet with plenty of rich, aromatic melanoidin malt elements along with some sour cherry and light oak and vanilla notes tying it all together. This Oud Bruin has a rich medium body, is pleasantly warming and featured medium carbonation and a very smooth finish – making it a superb example of the style. The rich malt, sour cherry and sherry-like notes in the flavor were heavenly, finishing very smooth with a sweet and tart impression. This is a very complex and wonderful beer. With every sip you just want to keep drinking more. I could imagine drinking this beer with some freshly steamed seafood such as lobster or shrimp dipped in butter or perhaps a rich, fatty duck dish, but it would also pair well with a nicely seasoned rib steak served with a creamy vegetable sauce.

For those that aren’t meat eaters, this would pair beautifully with almost anything served with a rich cream sauce, from delicate white fish to something more complex such as a creole cream sauce over chicken or pork. If you don’t want anything too complicated and want to opt for comfort food instead, serve this complex and well-brewed Oud Bruin with a triple-cheese macaroni and cheese dish.

This delightful beer would also be perfect for just kicking back by the fireplace and enjoying the craftsmanship that went into making it. I could imagine a romantic evening with your significant other or sitting around playing games with a group of friends. This a such a complex and flavorful beer that it leaves so many options open. – Susan Ruud


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