Wednesday, July 29, 2015

De Proef and Left Hand Wekken Sour Belgian Ale (9/10)

Thanks to the Rare Beer Club, I have the bottle of Wekken Sour Belgian Ale you see in the photo at the left.  This beer is a collaboration between the brewers at Colorado's Left Hand Brewing and their counterparts at De Proef Brouwerij in Belgium.

Wekken Sour combines De Proef's classic Flemish sour ale with Left Hand's Wake Up Dead Stout.

The beer pours nearly pitch black in the glass with a thick tan head that eventually subsides to a thin layer on top of the beer.  It leaves behind thick sheet-like rings of lacing that gradually reincorporate into the beer, with only small spotty bits of foam left behind.

The aroma is complex.  Malt and cherry dominate, but you'll also pick up a hint of hops in there.

The flavor is probably more complex than the aroma.  If you sip carefully, you'll get the bitterness of the dark roasted grains from Left Hand's Wake Up Dead Stout, along with its bittering hops.  You'll taste the Stout's significant malt presence, too. Although it contains De Proef's sour cherry ale, and it's even called Wekken Sour, it's really not a sour beer.  The sourness seems to balance out some of the bitterness and malt in the stout to create something that's different from both beers, but complementary.  The cherry flavors in the De Proef ale marry well with the malt in the stout.  The sourness lends a kind of balance to the stout's bitterness.  You might also taste a bit of licorice, maybe a hint of leather, and prune or raisin.  As I write this, I've tasted about half the bottle and I'm still finding subtle new parts of the flavor.  It's most definitely a "sipping beer".  If you guzzle this one, you're doing yourself, and the brewers, a disservice.

As of this writing in July 2015, Beer Advocate and Rate Beer have no official scores for this.  That's not surprising, since the Left Hand web site tells you that the only places you'll get to taste this beer are at Left Hand's Colorado Tasting Room or as a member of the Rare Beer Club. It's difficult to rate this.  This isn't a beer I would buy on every trip I made to a local retailer, even if it was available here locally.  On the other hand, it's the kind of beer that's not just an enjoyable drink. It's actually quite a fascinating experience as well.  If it was available, I'd buy it a few times a year just to sit back and sip thoughtfully, like a fine wine.  The intensity of the experience and the flavors in Wekken Sour lead me to give it a 9 out of 10.   In fairness to other beers I've rated a 9, I'd probably drink the others much more often, but this would definitely be in my "for a special occasion" rotation.

Members of the Rare Beer Club can order this beer at $46.95 for two bottles, $67.95 for four bottles, and up for larger quantities - while supplies last.  You can also try it at Left Hand's tasting room in Colorado.  Sadly, you probably will not be seeing a bottle here in Ohio.

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