Mar 16, 2012

Vichtenaar Flemish Ale

Vichtenaar Flemish Ale photo

I remember the plain and understated label drawing me to this particular beer a few weeks ago. It’s made by the same folks that brew up one of my all-time favorite Flanders Red Ales — Duchesse de Bourgogne. Based on that knowledge along I was pretty damn excited about grabbing a bottle.

While the Duchesse is matured for 18 months in oak, the Victenaar only rests in wood for eight months. The brewery’s website really didn’t give much more detail to distinguish between the two products, but I’m sure it’s more than just their maturation period. At any rate, Vichtenaar turned out to be a great beer with solid fruit and sour character.


Vichtenaar pours a brownish red with a light tan head that was full and rocky. There was a good amount of bubble activity within its murky depths.


The beer smells great with hints of dark fruit, sour tartness and the lightest hint of oak.


Dark fruits (sour cherries) and a solid tartness wash over the palate abruptly before fading smoothly to a fairly refreshing finish. There’s a moderate level of sweetness that arrives in the back end and helps tone down the initial sour character. Though, I don’t pick up much oak on the tongue on a consistent basis — it shows up every now and again late in the finish.


I don’t think that Vichtenaar is going to replace the Duchesse as my favorite brew of this style, but I’d be hard pressed to find any other alternative as good as this. Brouwerij Verhaeghe (the brewers of both) certainly know how to craft a Flanders Red, that’s for sure. Either beer is a winner.