It's hard to choose between beers at a bottle shop as great as Belmont Station in Portland, Oregon. The many pumpkin brews from Elysian called my name, and I nearly grabbed the New Belgium collaboration with Alpine brewing, but in the end I saved my pennies for this big bottle, the sixth edition of the De Proef Brewmaster's Collaboration Series. The Belgian brewer collaborated with Hair of the Dog's Alan Sprints at De Proef to create a blend of Flanders-sourced lambic with a collaboratively-brewed version of Hair of the Dog Fred (a Golden Strong ale.)
I chose right; this stuff is really exceptional. Up front, the orange-colored beer, which clocks in at 7.5% ABV, is fresh and fruity, clean-tasting and bracingly refreshing, with bright tangy apricot and orange candy flavors that slide into something deeper and earthier. You don't forget there's lambic in this brew as you swallow; the finish is horsey in just the right way. The combination of grassy hop flavors mingled with the earthy lambic is interesting, and the leathery texture adds complexity.
Try Flanders Fred with Cowgirl Creamery's Red Hawk or other creamy and funky washed-rind cheeses. Then serve the rest alongside a chicken roasted with carrots and parsnips.
If you're in Portland this week, you can taste Flanders Fred alongside its base beers at Belmont Station on Tuesday, August 28th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. (Event listing here.)