Brew Review

Beer Review – Rodenbach Original


A while ago, I had picked up a six pack of Rodenbach from Roger Wilco. I had had a number of the bottles and shared one or two with the Boozedancers when it dawned on me that I had not reviewed the beer. The beer is produced by a brewery with a long, storied ownership that began in 1821 in Roeselare, Belgium. Over 175 years later, the Rodenbach family sold the brewery to the equally renowned Palm Breweries. Rodenbach Original is still produced at the same site using the same unique blending of aged (18 months) and young (9 months) ale in a ratio of 25%/75%. As I was not all that familiar with the Flanders Red Ale, I checked with Beer Advocate and this is what they have to say about the style:

Flanders Reds are commonly referred to as the “red” beers of West Flanders. Belgian Red Beers are typically light-bodied brews with reddish-brown colors. They are infamous for their distinct sharp, fruity, sour and tart flavors which are created by special yeast strains. Very complex beers, they are produced under the age old tradition of long-term cask aging in oak, and the blending of young and old beers.

The Rodenbach family perfected the method of blending their beers and they have been winning awards for almost 120 years. Most recently, the Rodenbach Original won the silver medal at the 2012 Brussels Beer Challenge.

I found this beer to be…

  • Appearance: Ruby with nice foam and good lacing.
  • Aroma: Some malt and hops and a sour cherry sweetness.
  • Taste: A little thin but refreshing with a nice mildly tart/mildly sweet finish.
  • ABV: 5.2%

I wasn’t a real big fan of sour beers as I have found their booziness to be too much like a fortified wine and their finish to be too much like a granny smith apple. However, the Rodenbach Original was so mild and so well-balanced that I found myself beginning to warm to the style. So, while I might not be ready for a Cuvée des Jacobins, I have warmed to the Duchesse De Bourgogne and look forward to trying more sours.

9 replies »

    • Thanks for the comment ITAB. I’m trying to ease into the sours and the Rodenbach was certainly a worthwhile experience. Of course, touring the brewery and presumably trying it at the source. Now, that is something.


  1. Glad to hear your coming around where Sours are concerned. They are definitely unique and a great change of pace from the usual Pale Ales, IPAs, Stouts, etc.. Plus, they go great with food. You need to try the Grand Cru next. Delicious!


  2. This is mighty tasty. Last year, I signed up for a once-per week month-long CLE mainly because there was a bar nearby with this on tap. A couple Rodenbachs make pension CLEs more palatable.


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