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Your cellar: Feeling Flemish

When the leaves on trees turn red and brown, match their shifting hues with the sour ales of Flanders, Belgium.
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Bring out:
Released January 2014, this sour ale from Salisbury, Maryland, is a product of the solera method, a winemaking technique that involves blending fresh and long-aged batches. This is most apparent in the nose, where rich vanilla, toffee and black cherry cola meet the musty quality of a timeworn library. Cherries and jammy red wine lead the sip into medium-toasty oak and wet earth before dusty cocoa concludes it in a surprising swirl. Still in its adolescence, the brew’s youthful fruit notes mingle nicely with its more elderly qualities; you could let it sit another year, but this is a nice point at which to catch it.

Lay down:
It’s been nearly 17 years since this legendary sour ale made with macerated cherries was last released, and while its flavors of cherry must, dry oak, pistachios, apple skin and cherry Jolly Ranchers are lovely now, it’s a little too focused on fruit flavors for our liking. Oxidized notes of sherry and leather will add complexity and should emerge after a year or two—or 17.


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