Friday, January 18, 2013

Beer: Sour Power Sampler Pack (Petrus and Monk's Cafe)

As the popularity of the old-school "sour" and wild farmhouse ale grows, Global Beer Network (United States distributors for Belgian greats like Gulden Draak and Piraat) has released a "Sour Power" mix pack. Retailing for around $24, this set of six 11.2 oz. brews includes 2 bottles each of Petrus Oud Bruin, Petrus Aged Pale Ale, and Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale. Here are my in-depth looks at each of these fine brews.

First up is the Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale from Brewery Van Steenberge, which I've had before and always enjoyed. At 5.50% ABV, this is a light and highly enjoyable experience unlike any other beer I've had before or since. It pours a lovely deep, clean ruby with a substantial head and superlative lace. The aroma is a fruity, musty sour vibe, with hints of tart cherries. Taste proved similar, with a delicious and refreshingly light-bodied feel. Tart berries and cherry dominated, with some sweetness and earthy elements rounding out the palate. Delicious, unique, and a tasty brew!

Next up, we have Petrus Oud Bruin. Produced by Brewery Bavik, this "old brown" ale is made by combining aged pale ale with fresh brown ale. It's a light drinker, at a modest 5.5% ABV. It's also a delicious thirst quencher. This one pours a clean ruby-brown, with a thick head of carbonation and an attractive lace web. Nose is caramel, a bit of fruitiness, and a yeasty earthiness. Pretty appealing and complex. The taste is sweet and malty up front, with tons of fruit and berries. I get some tartness more towards the finish. Subtle, unique, and quite enjoyable.

Finally, we have the heavier Petrus Aged Pale Ale (at 7.3% ABV), which is a golden ale aged in Calvados Barrels from Alsace, France for 24-36 months, then dry hopped. It pours a cloudy golden, with a medium head of fine white bubbles. Thin lace. Nose is tangy and sour, with indications of fruit, green apple, and a lactic, yeasty character. Nice. Taste is nicely soured, with green apple tones most prominent. I get no trace of the oak barrels that this was aged in. Instead, it's a wild and tangy tart fruit vibe with a slight warming finish. A delicious treat!

For serious craft beer fans, this is a very worthy set of unique brews from some of the world's finest Belgian craft breweries, and at around $4 a bottle (you'd pay that much for a junk lager at your local bar), the Sour Pour Sampler Pack is a bargain for the experience and the taste.

For more info and for a list of local stores carrying Global Beer Network merchandise, visit:

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