Beer Here: Cuvée des Jacobins Rouge by Omer Vander Ghinste
What: Flanders Red Ale
If you're new to Flanders Red Ales, or sour beers in general, you have to give this beer a shot. Flanders Reds are quite unique in the beer world and bring to the table a flavor profile more akin to wine or cider than beer.
Brisk acidity and bold cherry flavors dominate here, so much so that it's all the more astonishing that the only ingredients in the beer is malted grain, hops, and wild yeasts. After the boil, the wort is transferred to a large, shallow basin known as a coolship, which is open to the air so those wild yeasts can spontaneously ferment the beer. It's a very imprecise and risky method of making beer, but the Belgians have perfected the practice over centuries. Once the beer finishes fermenting in the coolships, it's then transferred to oak barrels for continued aging, in this case for at least 18 months.
In terms of food pairing, finding the right combination can be elusive, but once you do, it can be enlightening. Heavy, spicy dishes might overpower this beer, whereas lighter dishes might get lost in the beer's acidity. Savory, rich seafood is right in this beer's sweet spot. Gerrit Oliver, Brooklyn's esteemed brewmaster, especially recommends brunch foods, like omelettes and Croque Monsieurs. These foods won't overpower the beer, while the beer's acidity helps to cut through the richness in the dishes. At FBR, a fish special or our meatballs over polenta is exactly where you need to be.