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Alexander | Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

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75 Reviews

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

Style: Flanders Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-19-2001

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 75 | Ratings: 147
Photo of CharlesDarwin
4.4/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Originally reviewed November 23, 2006. Crisp saltine aroma, heavy on raspberry champagne vinegar. Very refined and tawny, edges of sherry. Many dripping cherry notes, with sweet crisp juices and dry pits. Very elegant and silky, but seems a little reserved and almost too straightforward (keeping it down 0.2 in the aroma). Flavor is damn near insanity. It’s pure lubricious delight of all kinds of cherries, schaarsbeekse, montmortenci, rainier and Door County. All sweet, bright and lucious and right in front of me. So unique and rich. A truly original coalescence of creative flourish and tangy delight. The sharpy sour notes are incredibly enlightening, with blending notes of astringent fire. The palate and finish could have had a little more moment, except that ti’s sweetness paris with the crisp cutting acidit to create nice balance and increasingly dry finish. Distant hop cone thoughts. The oak really brings some nice touches of vanilla cherry sugars. Overall, a true masterpiece and a crying shame that it’s no longer produced.

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Photo of GreenWBush
4.17/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow, what a find. I forgot that I put this one in my parents' fridge one of the first years of college, then discovered it recently when I moved back home. It had already been refrigerated for 5 or 6 years before I got ahold of it way back then.

1996 Vintage.

Pours out of the bottle a dullish brown, much less red in color than I had expected. A surprising and flourishing head is produced, but leaves absolutely no lace or cling.

Nose is full of tart, acidic cherries.

Taste is much more of the same. This is one of those beers that I can't really add much to what the label's description offers, "tart, vinous, fruity, and with a tang".

Mouthfeel is predictably tart, and oddly refreshing for a beer of this sort. My dad said it tasted like an aged wine cooler.

Completely untouched by age. Might have held out another decade!

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.47/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 1998

Pours clear ruby, with brown tinting, and an off- white head.
Retention is momentary at best, leaving only dots of foam, settling to 360 degree crescent, with an oasis of thin froth dead center.
Auditorily effervescent, prickly to the ear.
Cherry juice and cider vinegar up front in the nose.
Musty boards follow quickly, and cracked pepper.
Aromatics finish warm, zesty, and acidic.
Slickish mouthfeel, puckering and a bit syrupy.
Bitter and salty start the pallet, with a surge of crushed sour cherries becoming dominant.
A warming spiceyness comes forward, alongside some drying tannins. Hints of asian spice and cedar planks.
Vineousity takes main stage as the puckering acids and sweet juice fade.
Doesn't truly "finish" in any sense, as the brew has made an indelible mark on the back of the tongue.
I could not even guess how many years Alexander will continue to improve.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
4.94/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

bottle i have says 6%, thanks eda

pours a murky dark brown with tight, luxurious ring of satiny bubbles crowning the brew. murky and muddy, but intriguing. tiny bubbles lace the glass. aroma is woody, rich with port wine and other brisk vinous notes. aged. mild hints of apricot, apple and pear evolve with warming in the nose... perhaps different variations on what my mind thinks is 'cherry'. raw vanilla and clove spice things up a bit along with underripe tannins. expecting a blast of sweet stille nachtness, i am surprised by a crisp, hearty tang. loads and loads of sour cherry and even some dark corn syrup flavors here. finishes with leathery resin that carries the tartness and puckers the cheeks causing intense salivation. yeasty. perfectly smooth body of medium heft and just enough carbonation to kick some life into it and balance the sourness. intense and desserty without being anywhere close to overbearingly sweet, dry, or funky. absolutely a world class beer and one that i will have at any given opportunity. don't think a flanders red can get any better than this particular example. cheers, good luck finding this beer.

fly to belgium and you just might score a bottle.

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Photo of vladtheimpaler
4.45/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle (as if I needed to say). Brown, semi-clear, thin head. Sour juicy cherry aroma, slight acidity, and pleasant sweetness. Explosive juicy cherry flavors, pleasant sourness. A bit like a sour candy. Sweetness lingers over a layer of sourness. Medium body, but the acidity adds a dimention. Extremely well balanced and drinkable. Too bad this one is gone...

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A terriffic Belgian Red. Look creamy and rich of maroon with a thicker than usual head, also light red. Smells tart and modestly sour with cherry and raspberry sweetness and tartness. Tastes little in the way of malty, but the richness and creaminess comes through. Cherry, raspberry, blackberry, cranberry and currant fruits, tartness, and acidity. Never get to astringent levels. Red wine flavors and alcohol comes into the body and finish. Sweetness comes from the same fruits, only fully ripened. Slight spiciness comes through in light hopping and other added spices. Texture is creamy and rich, never thick or cloying. A good beer for a single. Still a bit sour for regular consuming

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.52/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled August 2005
Well thanks to some serious begging and pleading, I was given the opportunity to try this beer one more time. The beer pours a brilliantly clear ruby-cherry-red color with barely a wisp of a head. The sediment was so compacted in the bottle that I was able to pour the entire liquid contents out with nary a speck of sediment. The aroma smells strongly of enticing cherry with a mix of sweet cherry meat, tannic cherry skin, and a tart acetic note that melds so well with it all. My first impression, this has lost a lot of the sweetness up front, but quickly gains a rich meaty, malty cherry skin note to it. The finish is lightly tannic with a slightly puckering note to it that is a combination of wood and a tart-sour character.

This beer has held up far better than the Pre-Palm Rodenbach Grand Cru. The cherry, it seems, has acted as a preserving influence. This really grabs the palate towards the end, it is mouth coating and malty with a very nice interplay between rich malt and cherry notes. As it warms up a bit the acetic light vinegar note really starts to come forward. The cherry note almost gets bigger (though not in a cloying or expressive way) and sort of spreads itself throughout the beer. What an incredibly well balanced beer this has turned into. The finish is long and gripping with notes of tannic cherry skin, yet still satisfyingly fruity with lots of cherry meat and a bit of balsamic character. This is quite exquisite, I so would love to have more of this. I find it really hard to not give this beer a really high score, it was very enjoyable, and the sweet cloying cherry character has really dropped out, just the opportunity to try this beer is almost a perfect experience.

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Photo of beergeek279
4.7/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in the 330 mL bottle, into a goblet. The color is a dark amber, with a wispy head. The smell is a subdued tartness. The taste is very cherry sweet, with a more mellow tartness than other Flemish Reds (remarkable aging, though I haven't had this one young), and a remarkable complexity. Mouthfeel is very smooth and velvety. As for drinkability, though I won't be able to find another bottle, if I could, I would love to have tons of these.

Thank you to the Sharp Edge for putting these dandies out for sale, and as a great bargain at only $20! Though I don't know if I'll ever have another Rodenbach Alexander, I'm just thrilled that I got the chance to have this one.

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Photo of Rastacouere
4.22/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Immense thanks to Barry for sharing one of the rarer that I'd like to believe bottles still around Clear light brown, maybe a slight haze. Small sticky off-white head. Aroma is very vinous, sweet cherries in abundance, well defined with obvious oak aged character that I love. Downright excellence in here, makes you wish you could bathe in one of Rodenbach's legendary oak casks. Nose also deploys light tartness and a bit of brown sugar. Great taste, very refreshing, full-flavoured cherries, very sweet and tart at the same time. You actually feel the seeds and branches a bit which is surprising considering that they used a cherry extract to my knowledge. Tons of oak, just lovely. This is a glorious meeting, but I must confess it could be a bit drier to fit my tastes perfectly, they've already done that with the grand cru though! Great tart aftertaste with more barrel character being revealed, this seems to support age wonderfully and shows no signs of fatigue for those still holding on some bottles, wonderfully lactic still. Thin-medium body, just appropriate and supported by medium carbonation. There is no way any good reason exists and is sufficient to end the production of this fine beer. RIP Alex.

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Photo of Gavage
4.72/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I felt it was time to open my last remaining bottle from the early 90's. It pours a reddish / copper color with a thick off white head. The aroma is extremely noticeable before the nose even approaches the glass. A unique sour cherry and mild maltiness sends the nose sensors into overdrive.

The flavor is tough to describe. A slightly tart and sour cherry flavor hits the tongue immediately, but fades to a soft malty finish. The beer seems to put a protective coating on the tongue that last for a few seconds.

The mouthfeel is tingling at the start but smooths out during the finish. The tartness / sourness lingers very softly. This was one of the best aged beers I have ever had. Truely an incredible beer.

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Photo of SheepNutz
4.29/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz. bottle poured into a tulip-style glass. It pours a light reddish-brown color with half a finger of large bubble foam. There is only a little lace left on the glass. The smell is full of sour cherries and apple, very fruity. A good malty aroma as well. The taste has just a slight mustiness to it at first, then tart cherries and a hint of alcohol. The finish is very mellow. The mouthfeel is just a tad oily. The drinkability is fairly nice. A good Belgian red!

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Photo of Popsinc
4.47/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a 1985 vintage bottle sampled at La Bier Circus in Brussells, Oct 2003.

Appearance: Served in a large wine glass this beer had a deep mohagany pour with almost no head whatsoever.

Smell: The nose is just bursting with dark, ripe cherries but it seems the highlight here might be the heavy dose of dark & rich sour plums that counter-balance the cherry sweetness nicely.

Taste: A huge fruit sweetness up front highlighted again by cherry and plum. The fruity sweetness is nicely balanced by an oaky tartness and a nice acidity level.

Mouthfeel: the sweet n sour smooth mouthfeel leaves a satified palate.

Drinkability: A great beer. Like many aged beers there are similarities with fine port...dark, rich fruit. woddy notes. sweetness & tartness all at once. But to know a beer can change over time and increase in complexity is an exciting feeling.

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Photo of francisweizen
5/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sampled at the Kulminator in Antwerp, BE. This was a 1995 (?) vintage, as this beer is no longer produced. The aromas are that of the familiar regular Rodenbach or Grand Cru, except that this version of good ole' Rodenbach is filled with cherry essence. The taste is like Rodenback with cherries added, and that's exactly what this beer is. The mouthfeel is perfect and the drinkability is excellent!

I recently had a 1997 vintage at the Beer Circus. Damn this shit is good. Rodenbach with a cherry explosion on top. Try some! Now!

Pre-palm vintage is almost opaque brown in colour. Small off-white head that leaves nice lacing. Aromas are more funky, and less cherry-ish, but excellent, none-the-less. The taste is very lactic, sour, acidic, and beautiful. Mouthfeel is sharp and vinous and drinkability is awesome. I'd guess that this is a 93 bottle...still extremely complex and imminenlty drinkable after a good long nap. To bad these run like $25 around here if you can find them these days!

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Photo of beerguy101
4.42/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Too bad it's history...Reddish brown color, small head. The typical vinous taste of a Belgian Reds. There is a slight cherry taste to this beer. Not sweet but very complimentary to the sourness. Aftertaste is slightly vinous, no bitterness slight hoppyness. NICE BEER.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.92/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Nice reddish color to light but more mahogany or burgundy. Full beige head with very active carbonation but no lace and low head retention. Full cherry aroma with a light tartness or sourness. Tastes full of fruit -- Very Cherry with a light sourness / very much like some krieks in fruitiness. Light airy body (champagne-like) with a tart fruity finish.

Aged - had this bottle for quite a while (2 years maybe) -- I really hope it is not extinct or comes back. ;-(

Bottle states "Belgian Red Ale"

Per M.J. - G.B.B.: R. Grand Cru with Cherry Essence

(11.2 oz. / 33 cl)

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.69/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: A bottle that was “blindly” purchased at the Stuffed Sandwich, San Gabriel, California for $7.50 during the Stone Brewing Event on the 25th July 2003. It had the new gold edged style white label which the Alexander sported in its latter years of existence.

Appearance: Dark brown copper color that poured with a good inherent carbonation. Full of life. Off-white colored head that was large & rocky in places. Has good staying power. Tremendous levels of dissolved carbon dioxide add vitality to the beer when swirled.

Nose: The odors tell you this beer should be cherry red - such is the fruitiness that the cherry essence adds to this beer.

Taste: Gorgeous cherries drowned in sour red ale that complement each other like sweet and sour, dark & light, up & down. They are opposites, yet this synergistic beer is so much more than the sum of its component parts. Tartness spikes here & there, it comes & goes like the sweetness. A real mish-mash of extreme flavors that just works so well.

Mouthfeel: Above average feel, complicated by the battle between the sweet & sour aspects. Sweet, yet dry & tartly sour at times. A bit of a roller coaster at times. It improves no end with additional aging I find.

Drinkability: Every time I have a bottle of this wonder, I always tipped it upside-down, at least twice to make absolutely sure that I never leave any beer in the bottle. Suffice it to say, I find this Ale extremely drinkable & mourn its passing every time.

Overall: A totally unique blend of cherry essence & sour red ale that just simply works for me. Hard to describe & often loathed by some, hell even ridiculed by some so-called Belgium Beer Experts, but I enjoy it for what it is (was!) – a truly unique beer. The Alexander is the Rodenbach Grand Cru with just cherry essence added. Simply that, a Cherry 'flavored' Flemish Red Ale. It definitely worked well in its time, & many of my drinking friends from England dearly loved this beer, so often we would all order a round whenever we found it on our Easter Trips to Belgium. Alexander Rodenbach only ever represented a low single figure percentage of the Breweries overall production. Whether it was truly an inconvenience to produce, or simply never given the support it so dearly deserved and never properly marketed – whatever the reason; this marvelous one of a kind beer, is so dearly missed by this Belgium beer fan. I so wish I had stashed away a few bottles of this when I had the chance to do so.

Alexander Rodenbach - RIP.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
4.47/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown stain or rust colored with bits of floating yeast particles are topped by a slow fading beige head and a little sliding lace. The aroma of fresh crushed berries, hops and a hint of alcohol are exceptionally welcoming. I normally don't appreciate overly sour or tart beers, but this one is modestly tart with a lively lemony zest partly tempered by hints of sweet caramel, cherries and candy sugar. Incredibly tasty and well made!

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Photo of jcalabre
4.08/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Origianlly sampled 29 March 2002. Big Thanks to hoprus for this one! It pours a cloudy brown w/ a one finger head. Nicely balanced sour cherry & apple flavors lead to a crisp, dry finish. This beer, & Flemish Sour Ales in general, aren't for everyone, but Rodenbach Alexander is an excellent example of the style.

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Photo of marburg
5/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had one bottle of this beer sitting in a sealed box in my closet waiting for a special day; but then I happened across 2 more bottles at a local store that had recently remodelled and temporarily hidden their Belgian beers. I broke one out this evening to re-sample one of my all-time favorite brews.

The color is of a rich, lacquered piece of mahogony -- deep brown with hints of red when even the thinnest light hits it. The reddish tint is unique, as I understand it, to Rodenbach among the oud bruin beers. This particular sour ale is exceptional as it's blended with cherries, as it states on the bottle. The dance of the light is just such a treat compared to the cloudier, more opaque visual presented by beers like Goudenband. Anyhow, there's little to no head on this beer as the bubbly, soda-like head disappears quickly. A *very* thin lace sticks to the sides of the glass with each sip, however.

Obvious aromas of some sort of cherry vinegarette salad dressing -- slightly tart but very richly sweet like Michigan black cherries. This has most potpourris beat, hands down.

The taste is of dried cherries -- lightly sour with an intensely sweet cherry flavor. It begins with a heavy sweetness and finishes with a crisp acidity similar to that of other Flemish browns/reds or lambics. The body is fairly thin, but the beer is nonetheless powerful and the flavors intense.

I could drink this beer all night. It's exceptional.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.2/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Acquired a couple bottles of this from a trade. Pours a ruddy dark amber with a medium thin light tan head. Thin lacing. Aroma is just waiting to burst like a mob of Saturday morning shoppers waiting at the doors for a store to open during a big sale. Strong sherry, citrus, apple and grapes almost overwhelm. Unfortunately my first impression of the flavor reminded me of a cheap screw-top wine like Boone's. Sour and fruity with a light effervescent character. I am glad I got to try it as this is an interesting and complex beer, but honestly I don't think I would get it again if I had the chance.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bubbly head, and deep, dark cherry red color. Aroma is loud and sweet, projecting a fierce cherry flavor far and wide. Sour cherries! Tantalizing, lively. Not a kriek lambic, but merely a "sour ale" flavored with "cherry essence." And that's just the thing. It's simple and consistent. You get sour, you get cherry. I like it, and I can imagine it as an excellent dessert treat, but it's not the sort of thing you can imagine drinking very often.

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Photo of ZAP
4.47/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An excellent beer....cranberry red in color with no lace....nice tart cherry/sour apple nose....a real tartness on the buds, but it fades quickly into a subtle sweetness....the tartness is of cherries, sour apples, and cranberries...Very unique..lacks the sweetness of the New Glarus Belgian Red (which may not even be true to style)...I really like this...thirst quenching but a desert beer at the same time...

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Photo of Bighuge
4.35/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a beautiful deep scarlet red color. A slight tan head dwindles quickly and soon just rims the glass. A sour mash like smell is perceived on the nose. The tartness of this beer can be smelled. This beer has a very light body. Drinking this is almost like drinking a liquid version of the green apple taffy/candy. It's very unique and there are both sweet and sour characteristics. The sour properties seem to win in my mouth. Vinegar like presence is detected although balanced pretty effectively.

I definitely prefer the New Glarus Belgium Red over this brew. (I gave the Belgian Red from NG a 4.9.) I realize that they are a bit different beer styles, but as for the few beers I've tried with cherries in them, NG is outstanding and this one is pretty good.

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Photo of aracauna
4.95/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is an excellent beer. If the news I heard about its impending lack of availability in the US is true, I'm really glad that one of my friends picked up a bottle on our last trip to Tennesse (couldn't buy the stuff in Georgia anyway since it's over 6%). The sad part was that I didn't buy any for my self. It's got a dark ruby color. Both the smell and taste are sweet, sour and very cherry. It reminds me of a fruit lambic with the tartness, actually. A very, very good beer.

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Photo of Jason
4.84/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Presentation: 11.2 oz brown bottle with a white foiled top, no freshness date though a tart beer like this will stay for months if not years.

Appearance: Bright mahogany colour with a light tan lace to boot, sediment in the bottle stayed well packed even when the bottle was totally poured out.

Smell: Sweet aroma of bing and black cherries, big fruity tart back ground with an odd yet light tobacco smell.

Taste: Smooth on the palate with a huge puckering tartness, not sour bit tart because as soon as it comes in it leaves to let a flipside of flavours in. Tartness holds the fruit, the fruit of sweet then quickly to sour cherries that bring on the tartness. Hops are belittled and are nearly non-existent but this is par for the style. As soon as the tartness subsides a sweet vanilla flavour sneaks in with a quick flash of malt also within the undertones of earth and wood. Dry without a doubt, especially the finish and the finish is pretty clean.

Notes: This is the in comparison to what wine drinkers would want in a complex top notch wine, guess what it’s a beer. Complex is not the word for this beer, better than wine is bold and fitting.

After an eight day trip to Belgium this beer makes me feel all fuzzy and warm. Then I realize that I am in America and have to pay two to three times the $$$ for the same beer just to drink it at home and not in a warm and inviting cafe or beer bar in Brugge. :-(

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Alexander from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
4.48 out of 5 based on 147 ratings.
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