WITH ITS STEAMY bouquet and flavor reminiscent of honey lemon tea (earthy and heavily steeped) there’s not much recognizable as a Belgian red in Rock Bottom’s Grand Cru. It also lacks for fruity esters, has limited yeast flavor, and carbonation that, while robust, is hardly explosive. So what does it have? A satisfying depth to its leather-colored body, matured sweetness (bits of beet or toffee) hiding behind its herbal hops, and grapey, slightly tannic conclusion courtesy of its cabernet barrel-aging that prolongs and smooths the finish. Altogether it’s more balanced than its initial herbaceous waft suggested, and though rather out of sorts for its category (strong/double/imperial pale ale?) an engaging and well-rounded brew.
Served: On Tap (Skyline Loft, FoBAB 2013, Chicago)