Breweries "Visited"

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Can I get a ruling?

Beer #11: Grand Cru /Brouwerij Rodenbach, Roeselare, Belgium

I'm not a lawyer, but I've watched plenty of Law & Order.  And what we have here is clearly a question on the laws for my list of 365 beers from 365 breweries.  Grand Cru is made by Rodenbach and it is amazing, but hold that thought for a moment.  Rodenbach is in turn owned by Palm, a brewery that has been acquiring other Belgian brewers.  The concept of 'big brewer buys up a smaller brewer' happens all over the globe, as Anheuser-Busch recently acquired Goose Island, a solid craft brewer in Chicago.  Why all the acquisitions, you ask?  Easy - craft beer consumption was up 10% last year, despite the overall beer industry seeing a decrease in sales.  The beer giants of the world aren't stupid, so obviously they're going to shift their focus to markets displaying growth.  If this means awesome beer gets produced and distributed to a broader audience, then GREAT!  If it means accountants will manage breweries and optimize resource allocation rather than allowing master brewers to experiment and go for broke, then BOOOOO!

So... do I count this as my beer from Rodenbach?  Does this mean I've crossed Palm and all of their associated beers off the list?  Another Palm-via-acquisition beer is the Oude Gueze Boon, a lambic I'm rather fond of.

The ruling: I'm counting this as a Rodenbach beer only, as they continued to brew in their main site in Roeselare, rather than any other Palm facility.  However, I'll keep Oude Gueze Boon on the back burner and see if I can't find other breweries to highlight before hitting another Palm offspring.

Enough Law & Order for one episode, so let's talk actual beer, not just beer business.  The Grand Cru is a Flemish ale, also known as a sour ale.  And I am in love with sour ales these days.  Rich color with a  tart, fruit scent and taste.  Hint of cherry along the way.  A tasty enigma: light yet complex, all at once.  I wish I was better at articulating the various flavor notes, but just trust me on this one: if you're looking for something a bit different, look no further, as this beer is destined for my top 25.  No matter what corporation pocketed the money I paid for this bottle.

Thing to Think About Today:
Today is Joe Paterno's 85th birthday.  I never met my grandfathers; both had passed away before I was born.  Therefore, Joe is my de facto grandfather, and I learned rich life lessons from him on prioritizing academics, philanthropy, respect, and hard work.  Joe would be the first person to say he wasn't perfect, and he'd be right.  However, he's still done more for the university, his program, and his community than anyone before and anyone who will come after.  Happy birthday, Coach!!

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