This is a beautifully presented, paper wrapped, dark Belgian Ale and it’s a sour beer.
I’m sure you knew that already, but I didn’t.
It came as part of my latest BeerHawk delivery and either my tastes are changing or Goudenband isn’t quite so vinegar harsh as the other sour beers I’ve tried (Fantôme excepted).
Goudenband pours a lovely deep prune brown with a fizzing creamy head.
The smell is cider apples and port, some spiced chocolate, apricots, wood shavings and a hint of mustard.
It’s a little difficult here to talk about what the malts and hops are doing as this is more of one big blast of flavour that works as a very complex whole rather than the sum of its parts.
There’s a beautifully meaty prune and plum juice backbone that’s round and rich, and over this you get a port bitterness and the most lovely red wine tannin dryness that scours your tongue so that it can be pricked by great snaps of black pepper, a spoonful of lemon rind and sage leaves, a fork full of rich and creamy but ever so sour blue cheese and a roasted nut finish that made me reach with a smile for another mouthful.
I imagine now that I’ve discovered how to enjoy sour beers someone will inform me that Goudenband isn’t meant to be sour and I simply had a bad bottle.
That’d be just my luck.
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