Beer Wednesday: An Ode to the Duchesse

I can't believe that in all our beer reviews on FIWK I have never done one dedicated to one my all-time favorites, Duchesse de Bourgogne by Brouwerij Verhaeghe in Belgium. The closest I've come is mentioning it in my review of Ichtegem's Grand Cru, which is also of the "Flemish red ale" style. I absolutely love this beer.

The Flemish red ale style is always sour to some degree. But, like Ichtegem's, the Duchesse is not overly sour. Tart is about as far as I'd go; the sour is really a way of adding layers of flavor and complexity more than it's about making your mouth pucker. Blend that sour with a rich sweetness in the mid-palate, and what you've got is a classic sweet & sour combination. On the back end of the tongue, as you drink, some deeper malt flavor comes through as well. The fruit flavor isn't quite as 'bright' and light as Ichtegem's. On the finish the bite completely disappears in a smooth way. The smoothness, the rich and complex flavors, and the layering in of tartness to the beer all make the Duchesse the perfect beer for my palate.

The Duchesse is 6% ABV and I believe I paid $6 for a 12oz at my local store (?); you can also find this on tap in many areas including at Wurstkuche in Los Angeles. I strongly recommend trying the beer if you find it on tap (I also recommend Wurstkuche, that place is delicious). This beer is a great stepping stone into the sour ale style if you haven't had many before. If you're adventurous you may end up really enjoying it.

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