The girlfriend is a big wine drinker so she naturally gravitated towards some of the sour beers I was trying. Though I’ve tried a number of sour beers, I’d never had a lot the “classic” or “good introductory” sour beers like Rodenbach or Monk’s Cafe. So I split a 12oz bottle with the girl this afternoon after brunch.
Monk’s Cafe – brewed by Brouwerij Van Steenberge – pours a deep brown with hints of burnt orange highlights and a persistent off-white head. There’s a strong vinous character to the smell (For Tim: that means “wine-like”), hints of sour grapes and some spicy character. The body is lighter than its appearance leads you to believe, but I think it’s about right for the style/flavor of this beer. Any more and it would be too heavy, velvety is a good description. The taste is predominant grape-like, with a little vinous sour flavor. There’s hints of other fruits like sour apples and maybe pear. It’s a good balance of sweet and tart. Monk’s Cafe finishes fairly dry and is pretty quenching and quaffable (again, for Tim, this means “drinkable”).
It’s a very interesting beer, but not one I think I would get again. Having been introduced to more potent sours and “American Wild Ales,” the reserved balance taste of Monk’s Cafe is a bit underwhelming for me. Neverless, it is still a damn good beer and definitely one to seek out if you’re new to sours.
Overall: 3.75 out of 5.