The name just rolls off the tongue and instills intrigue in an unsuspecting drinker drawn in by the sunny label of eye popping yellow and vibrant autumnesque orange. That intrigue combined with the spotless reputation of The Bruery (I mean, do they make any beer that isn't great?) make it easy to look past the $22.79 price tag on this beer, a Flemish Style Red Ale.
With my Bruery snifter still reeling from the juggernaut that was Smoking Wood, this had a lot to live up to and live it did. The pour featured a half inch of off-white head that dissipated rapidly. It was gone by the time I took a picture and finished taking in it's pungent aromas. Non-existent by the first sip. What was left was a deep, rich brown with a reddish hue (mahogany if you will) with a haze that hung around the center of the glass, the outer edges boasting small levels of transparency.
Soft cherry and hard oak aromas bounced into the olfactories being tailed by a mild vinegar, almost soy sauce like, kick. The cherry was inviting, the oak was warming, the vinegar brightness made me feel like I was home. I was about to drink an incredible sour.
The first sip was abundant with sour cherry up front. As the middle pushed it out of the way, it blazed with woody oak notes and mild leather, which blended into a strong, lip puckering, mouth pursing tart finish. With the palate kicker lingering on the palate, the sourness mellows into a bright sweetness, the product of all of the flavors blending on the tongue in unison.
As Oude Tart warmed, the oak became more prominent yielding subtle vanilla to meld with the still strong sour cherry to give the mouth an almost resinous coating. It provided a solid base for the burst of sour to pass over and create a well balanced drink. I would love to cellar a few and see how they mellow over 2, 5, or 10 years.
As a fan of sours this was a welcome sort. For a fellow drinker, it was hard to get through. It has the power to convert the masses, however. It is bold from label to price, from pour to nose, from first sip to empty glass. It screams in your face. It tweaks your palate. It alters your mind. It is, right now, in my top 5 of 2013.