Nick VanCourt // Ore Dock Brewing Company

Nick VanCourt // Ore Dock Brewing Company

There’s something to try if you like red wine, or white wine, or gin.” – NICK VAN COURT // ORE DOCK BREWING COMPANY

Nick VanCourt, Brewmaster of Ore Dock Brewing Company on the shores of Lake Superior in Michigan, finds that it’s easier to woo new craft beer converts with traditional Belgian styles over American ones.

Why? Their flavors are so unique.

Is red wine your drink of choice? Give the “Burgundy of Belgium” a try. Flanders Red Ale is a sour, fruity, red wine-like Belgian ale that is smooth and complex from long periods of aging in oak barrels and the blending of younger and older beer. Fruit-forward with a tannic bitterness, red wine drinkers will recognize some familiar flavors in this style. Try Rodenbach Grand Cru or Duchesse De Bourgogne.

Tend to toast with a glass of white wine or champagne? More and more beers are being aged in white wine barrels, giving wine-like notes, or are re-fermented in the bottle with champagne yeast, giving an effervescent, bubbly mouthfeel. Try Mikkeller’s Nelson Sauvin Brut (also known as Nelson Sauvignon) – it’s a Belgian wild ale brewed with Nelson Sauvin hops (a New Zealand hop varietal with white grape flavors similar to Sauvignon Blanc), aged in white wine barrels, and re-fermented with champagne yeast. It’s a beauty.

Prefer gin? Give the traditional Finnish ale, Sahti, a try. Juniper berries and boughs are used in the brew, so you’ll detect some familiar botanical notes, alongside rye spice and banana and clove notes from the yeast esters and phenols. Try Dogfish Head Sah’tea.

Whiskey, cider, coffee? What’s your go-to? Give me a shout in the comments and I’m sure we can find a beer for you!

Quote source: Beer Advocate // Issue #102

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