Beer Wednesday: Ichtegem's Grand Cru by Brouwerij Strubbe

I had a really fantastic beer this week. It was called Ichtegem's Grand Cru by Belgian brewer Brouwerij Strubbe (they only have detail on their website for its sister beer), and its style is "Flanders Red Ale". You need to know two things to understand this review: 1) Flanders Red Ales are a sour ale style which can get VERY sour (like, make-your-stomach-hurt-sour); and 2) I can handle a little sourness in beers, but not too much.

This is a beer that sour beer fans won't love, because it's really not that sour. Its nearest comparison is the Duchess de Bourgogne (which you'll notice at the top of the Flanders Red Ale rating list on the above Beer Advocate link), one of my favorite beers. Ichtegem's uses sour as merely a component of its flavor, not its dominating characteristic. It is also bright and fruity and has a medium-bodied smoothness that I really enjoy.

I agree almost completely with this extremely good review by KevBrews, in which he calls this beer refreshing and easy drinking. His comment about the Ichtegem's having characteristics of bright, summer fruits as opposed to the darker fruits common in more sour ales is also spot on.

For my palate this is a fantastic beer. Hardcore sour beer fans probably won't love it, as seen by its B rating on Beer Advocate and the very telling "89 overall, 40 for its style" rating on ratebeer. It is 6.5% ABV and cost $5.99 for 11.2oz bottle, which is pricey. If you are a fan of the Duchess, or you want to try some sour beer, or like delicious beers and don't mind being adventurous, I heartily recommend Ichtegem's Grand Cru.


  1. English please!

    Where'd you find this? I'm almost tempted to go out and buy one after this review...

  2. My beloved local wine & beer specialty shop, Wally's in West LA. However, I believe it is also available at K&L Wine Merchants, which has locations in Redwood City and San Francisco.

    If you can't find Ichtegem's, just go and get yourself a bottle of the Duchess from a BevMo!, because they are very similar. Like I said, I love the Duchess and now I love Ichtegem's even more.

    If you do try it let me know what you think - too sour for you? Nice balance of complex flavors? Not powerful enough or not enough body? I love the Borden Beer Review.