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Top 100 Beers of 2019

top beers 2019

 

#9

Oak Barrel Aged Flanders Red Ale, Moody Tongue

96
by John C. Tull
Oak Barrel Aged Flanders Red Ale
Moody Tongue Brewing Co.

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President & Brewmaster Jared Rouben Talks Oak Barrel Aged Flanders Red Ale

Who was responsible for this beer’s recipe?
Head Brewer J.T. Rea and I.

What sets this beer apart from other examples within the style?
I believe our culinary brewing philosophy helped us discern which fruit flavors and aromatics to showcase during the creation of this beer. Much of the complexity in the production of this style lies in the actual blending process of the aged beer with the younger Flanders Red Ale and tasting all of the barrels prior to building the final profile is instrumental in achieving balance. J.T. and I tasted each barrel multiple times before finalizing the blend so that we could ensure we would be bringing notes such as strawberry, cherry and rhubarb to life.

What makes this beer truly world-class?
To create an exceptional beer, it is important to pay homage to the history of the particular style. J.T. and I not only spent time researching and reading about traditional Flanders Red Ales, but later also traveled to Flanders to taste examples of the style prior to creating our own blend.

What is your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, mouthfeel, etc.)?
I love this beer because it fills a void on beverage menus from a pairing standpoint. Flanders Red Ales are essentially the Burgundy of beer – much like a Pinot Noir, this style can pair just as easily with poultry (think dishes like roast chicken and Peking duck) as it can with heartier proteins (like a ribeye steak or ossobuco). While difficult and time-consuming to create, this style adds a new dimension to the pairing experience when thinking of how best to bring beer and food together.

How popular is this beer among your faithful fans?
Oak Barrel Aged Flanders Red Ale is quickly becoming one of the most popular specialty beers in our selection. We are excited to showcase this beer in particular, however, on our forthcoming pairing menu at the fine dining restaurant we are shortly opening at our brewery, The Dining Room. This beer will make for an outstanding pairing with dishes by our Executive Chef, Jared Wentworth, and will remain a showcase on draft and in bottles (as long as we’ve got the beer in inventory!) in our casual restaurant, The Bar.


Judge’s Second Opinion

When I first got serious about understanding world beer styles, my fascination with Belgian beers, particularly Belgian sours, really drove my passion. When a friend shared a bottle of Rodenbach Grand Cru, which was rare at the time, I instantly fell in love with the Flanders Red ale beer style. I even made the Flanders region a required stopping point on a trip I took with my wife to Europe, but I was dismayed to learn that traditional Flanders Red production was disappearing, being replaced with soda pop ales with short turnaround instead of the more time-consuming and expensive traditional sour beers.

Luckily, things turned around with the commercial proliferation of wild yeast strains and the craft brewing tradition of tackling brewing challenges. The sour beer movement in the U.S. ignited, and the traditional sour brewing regions of the world were thankfully reinvigorated.

Today there are lots of breweries producing sour ales, but few with the capacity and patience to do what Moody Tongue has done with their Oak Barrel Aged Flanders Red Ale. They visited Belgium and studied the style, then took the time needed to blend this beer in order to make it the best Flanders Red Ale possible. And they did an exceptional job in constructing it!

All of the hallmark characteristics are present in this Flanders: umami, tart fruit, subtle wood character and a touch of acetic acid. The fruit expression is rich, reminiscent of pie cherries. The malt character has not been over-consumed by the wild bugs during the ferment; instead, sufficient malt comes through, providing a wonderful balance to the acetic tartness.

I find great pleasure in being able to discover an example of this style that reminds me of my first sip of a Flanders Red Ale. Moody Tongue’s Oak Barrel Aged Flanders Red Ale is one such example. - John C. Tull

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