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Duchesse De Bourgogne: Or How My Brother Jim Is An Idiot

I went to the Second Semi-Annual Ungettables Tasting at Brewforia last Monday evening.  It was an amazing time, and I got the chance to try some fantastic beers and some not so great beers from around the world.  This was an awesome event and some people really went all out bringing cases of different brews.  I brought two beers, and two whiskies, all of which are not sold in the State of Idaho.  Others brought vertical tastings or incredibly aged brews.

One of the two beers I brought was this one, Duchesse De Bourgogne, a flemish style red ale from Brouwerij Verhaeghe in Belgium.  This ale is aged in Oak casks and is a mere 6% ABV, almost sessionable.

I titled this post about my idiot brother, and and his feelings about this beer are  no exception.  Jim’s thoughts about the Duchesse are well documented here, and I couldn’t disagree more!

This beer was sublime, and one that delivered on all fronts.  It is a sour, but just barely sour like many good flemish style beers.  It had a viscous mouth feel which coated the palate with a milky thick almost chewy layer of flavor.  The taste itself is great, and is where Jim and I part ways.  He says it tastes like Russel Stover Raspberry Chocolates, I say it tastes like a slightly sweet and resiny brew that has fruit overtones and a wonderful dry finish that lets you know that there is indeed alcohol in the beverage.  DON”T LISTEN TO MY IDIOT BROTHER JIM!  If you have a chance to try this, do so.  I made the mistake of never wanting to try this based on Jim’s opinion, and if I hadn’t seen it and thought I should know for myself, I wouldn’t have known the splendors that the Duchesse does possess.

Oh, I could go on about how Jim is an idiot, like how he spent $300 on Troges Mad Elf, a pedestrian christmas beer, or how he painted his teeth black when he was 4, or when he thought it would be a lot of fun to cut his own hair, or when he bought a Mini Cooper when he had a really cool car picked out.  Many of Jim’s transgressions have been memorialized here on this blog for all  to see.  No, I will let this one speak for itself.

If you get the chance to buy this fabulous brew do it.  You won’t be disappointed, unless you are like my big eared, pointy headed brother.

-Don

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43 Comments on “Duchesse De Bourgogne: Or How My Brother Jim Is An Idiot”

  1. November 29, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    Don!

    I tried the Monk’s Flemish Sour based upon your sterling recommendation and absolutely loved it! Hope to try it at the source tonight (Monk’s Cafe, not Belgium). So how does this beer compare to the Monk’s brew? Sounds like they are similar styles, but I’m no expert, so I defer to your experience.

    Thanks!
    G-LO

    • Don
      November 29, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

      Well G, I’d hardly call myself an expert, but I would say they were both very good in different ways. The Monk’s Cafe was much more of a cherry flavored brew, and far more bubbly, almost champagne like, while the Duchesse ws more malty and chocolaty with sweet berry overtones from the oak it was aged in. I like them both a lot but if each bottle was put in front of me and I had to choose only one I would pick the Duchesse. Hands down!

      • November 29, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

        Totally agree with your Monk’s assessment, i.e. the cherry (sour) and champagne (dry) overtones. Great stuff! The Duchesse sounds fascinating. I’ll keep an eye out for it.

  2. November 29, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    i’m one who really enjoys the Dechesse a lot…my son gave me a bottle a few months back and i really liked it from the get go…so, whenever i’m in that particular aisle, i have no problems grabbing a bottle…

    • Don
      November 29, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

      You are fortunate MV to have aisles near by with this fantastic brew in them. I hope Rick at Brewforia can get them here in Idaho some day.

  3. Beth H - Georgetown, Indiana
    November 29, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    I am ABSOLUTELY with you here, Don! I first encountered The Duchesse in a dark basement bar somewhere off the main square in Tournai, Belgium, in 2002. She eluded me back in the USA for a few years until we met again at Chicago’s HopLeaf where she was (gasp!) on draft. It was a beautiful reunion, supplemented by hoarding bottles of The Duchesse from a Chicagoland beverage outlet before returning home.

    Now she is thankfully more widely available here in the midwest, and even occasionally discovered on draft (such as recently at Sergio’s in Louisville, Kentucky). I am NEVER disappointed with that beer — IMHO, it’s an outstanding example of the tartness and crisp finish of fine Flemish red ales, not too heavy, but with a pleasant and beguiling warmth. It’s not just sentimentality talking here, either…I’m still awed by this beer 10 years later.

    With that, I am off to our basement beer cave…for I believe a Duchesse or two may be resting comfortably down there and awaiting to be enjoyed on this brisk early winter evening. Cheers!

    • Don
      November 29, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

      You’re a lucky woman Beth! If only it were available in Idaho, it would be a regular on my table around the holidays! I agree with you totally about the beguiling warmth. I alluded to it in my post stating that you could tell that there was alcohol in it, but it is just an ever so slight warming of the chest that kind of wraps its arms around you and keeps you warm on a cool night!

    • johnking82
      November 29, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

      It’s generally at LBS as well.

  4. November 29, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    I knew I loved that little head of yours, Don! I went back and forth with Jim on this too…and I completely agree with you. Duchesse is an absolutely fantastic Flemish. I am a huge lover of Lambics and sours in general, but this marries the best of both worlds as Flemish reds often do. +1 for Don 🙂

    • November 29, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

      Yeah, the ladies seems to agree with him on this one.. 🙂

    • Don
      November 29, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

      Is this post Truffle worthy? 😉

      • November 29, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

        Truffle whore!

        • November 29, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

          LOL, Jim, I see men agreeing with him as well. I doubt they’d like to be called ladies. Don the post is definitely truffle worthy, just these damned things don’t exactly travel well…you need to make a trip to Ringwood!!!

        • November 29, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

          Drop them off with me and I’ll make sure he gets them. I PROMISE. 🙂

  5. November 29, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    I’m the idiot when you’re the one who decided NOT to try a beer based upon what someone else said about it? That’s pure idiocy if you ask me…

    • Don
      November 29, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

      I resisted the urge to not buy it, proving that I am the one of superior intellect! I’ll have you know that I purchased said bottle the first time I saw it! That said, I’m pretty sure you are wrong about most things! 😉

      • November 29, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

        In that case, I just LOOOOVE your post!

  6. November 29, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    I think Jim is cracked. This was a stellar beer, Don. I quite liked it. A lot, actually. And as I’ve stated here and elsewhere, I want to like sours but rarely do. Also really enjoyed the other sour that night, the Belmont Station 14th Anniversary Commemoration Ale. That was delicious. Another approachable sour, and such a nice dry finish on that one.

    You should have asked me to send you my image of your bottle, though. Your image looks a bit fuzzy (but we were all a bit fuzzy that night). Just posted my shot of the Duchesse to twitpic:

    http://twitpic.com/7lpgky

    Thanks for bringing it to the Ungettables Gathering. By my empty glass in the picture, you can tell that I enjoyed it!

    • November 29, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

      I forgot to comment in his “stellar” photography, Chad. Thanks for bring that up!

      And I’m not cracked – I tried this beer a few times and my head went right to “Raspberry-filled Russel Stover’s chocolate” which isn’t something I look for in a Flemish ale.

      Just not my cup of beer, but I did try a few times – I even served it for Christmas a couple of years back.

      • November 29, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

        Hey man, at least you gave it a few tries, Jim. Nice effort. I get where you’re coming from. Sours are tough sell for me. I already have a mindset that they’ll be a challenge. So, one little aberration in the experience can throw the entire beer off for me.

        • November 29, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

          You guys may yell at me for this suggestion, but what if you approach sours as wines instead of beers? I think the hurdle with sours is that we have preconceived notions of what we expect a beer to be like. We need to let go of the idea that we are drinking beer and simply approach it as a beverage. I say wine just because it has a lot of wine-like qualities. But it’s no different than a wine drinker having a hard time liking sake. They need to let go of the words “rice wine” and just decide if they like it regardless of its label. (besides, it’s really more of a beer than a wine, LOL!)

        • johnking82
          November 29, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

          I agree with katie…I approach them as wines and not beers….like a Boones Farm!

        • November 29, 2011 at 6:36 pm #

          Yup. That would be my suggestion, too Katie! I was into wine before craft beer. For me, many things I learned experiencing wine apply to beer as well. I guess some sours are just too sour for me. Or there is a particular aspect of them that my brain says, “hey, if it tastes that sour, you shouldn’t be drinking it!” I am warming up to them I believe, though. There are a handful that I now enjoy. Largely the gateway sours. The ones that have a touch of residual sweetness or are more like a tart sparkling wine. <— See, there's the wine thing. 🙂

    • Don
      November 29, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

      I had your pic Chad, but opted for my slightly out of focus one because it showed beer in the glass. Actually I think the camera focused on the glass, and the bottle went slightly out of focus because it was slightly behind the glass. No matter though, it gets the point across. When we opened this one, I remember sitting back and really enjoying this beer’s flavor almost as if time stood still for a moment. Hope I can score some more sometime soon. Pretty sure the whole family would like this one.

  7. November 29, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    I can’t believe it, but I agree with Don over Jim here. I think that’s twice in as many months. The Duchesse is quite simply one of the best beers on the market for any style. Jim is an idiot.

    • Don
      November 29, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

      I’m glad you are seeing things my way Zac. Who knows pretty soon you will be touting the virtues of supply side economics and applying for your NRA membership! 😉

      • November 29, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

        Supply side economics? Oh, like Supply Side Jesus.

        • Wayne
          November 29, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

          Thanks for posting that link Zac, it was beautifully done! I wonder how our kleptocracy responded to that one?

    • November 29, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

      When you ask yourself if reading this blog has had a negative effect on you Zac, think back to the fact that you have begun to agree with Don…

      • November 29, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

        Except that he’s right on this one. Just this one.

        • November 29, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

          Just this one. How many times has something awful happened soon after someone uttered that phrase?

  8. Rob
    November 29, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    Don,

    Is Duchesse really not available in southern Idaho? We readily have access to it in the CdA market. There’s at least two shops that have it. Next time you’re up this way, stock up! We tend to keep a few bottles on hand at the Abbey, we’ll be sure to share next time you’re in our neck of the woods.

    • Don
      November 29, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

      No, we aren’t fortunate enough to be in the Spokane Marketplace, so we end up having to beg, borrow, and bargain with our local distributors down here to get what we can. I’m sure I don’t know all the particulars, but I know Rick does his best, and if there were a way to get that beer here, he is working on it.

  9. johnking82
    November 29, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    I tend to always side with Don. Although I’ve never tasted the beer, he has provided enough evidence (big ears, Mini-Cooper, $300 on one type of beer) to agree with him again. Jim is a total idiot.

    Other ways we know Jim is an Idiot.
    – his “beard” exploits
    – beer hoarder
    – has stuffed animals as friends
    – is from New Jersey
    – probably hates Air Supply
    – puts Monopoly money in Salvation Army cans during the holidays
    – he isn’t Don.

    • Don
      November 29, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

      Yea for Bears!

  10. Wayne
    November 29, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    Thanks for the tip Don. I’ll be looking for this one in my local beer cave.

    • Don
      November 29, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

      I suggest you do. If you are sharing it get the 750ml. Otherwise I would stick with the 300ml, as I think it might be tough to work your way through a bomber all by yourself!

  11. Fred Colby
    November 29, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    I have to Go with Jim on this one sour Beers just reall arnt my gig
    I think the american Sour beer scene came about because of poor tank cleaning at certain breweries LOL 🙂

    • November 29, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

      Now here’s a fella who knows what he’s talking about!

    • Don
      November 29, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

      Yes Fred, but this just isn’t that sour. Just enough to brighten it up quite a bit. I think that shows brewing prowess. Just adding the right amount of funk to make the brew come alive, not like a typical brown sour that just tastes like an infected mess (lookin at you La Folie).

    • Wayne
      November 29, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

      Have to disagree with you Fred. I’ve only tasted a few, but have liked all I’ve tasted.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Beer Review – Duchesse De Bourgogne Flemish Red Ale « It's just the booze dancing… - December 16, 2011

    […] on the shelves during one of my many beer hunting adventures, but it wasn’t until I read our friend Don’s review of this beer that I made the decision to actually buy a bottle. Since I absolutely enjoyed the Monk’s Cafe […]

  2. 5 Rules for New Year’s Beer | Beer & Whiskey Brothers Blog - December 21, 2011

    […] a great choice if you’re serving it to some non-beer-geek friends.  I’d even lump Duchesse De Bourgogne in here as well, even though it’s a little dark and I struggle to appreciate it – […]

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