Russian River Supplication

I arrived at Belmont Station within twenty minutes of the Supplication tapping and thought it was going to be standing-room only. Fortunately, there were a couple spots at the bar (Sally was with me), which had the added benefit of giving me a front-row view of all the people coming in and placing their orders. Not that I'd flatter myself that this lil' ol blog spread the word--but something did. The Supplications were flying.

As you can see from the picture, it's not an oud bruin--or any brown, for that matter. It is rather a golden-red, and captured the refracting August sun beautifully. This concludes the criticism portion of the review.

It has an extremely tart, lactic nose, and the cherries are more suggestive than overt. So intense is the aroma that you reflexively brace yourself. Wisely, it turns out, for this beer bears more resemblance to a lambic than a sour brown. There are two axes for sour beers, sour and funky, and Supplication is all sour. It is an intense and dry beer, tart and sour, and the cherries accentuate this. They also provide a nice sweet note in the middle, though it's also suggestive. Finishes bone dry, with an alkaline quality and a goodbye pucker. Long after a swallow, though, a strange thing happens: a dry-cookie, biscuit flavor pervades my mouth. I can't account for it. If there's pinot in the palate (it was aged in noir casks), it eludes me--subtle flavor components would be necessarily flattened by this tour de sour.

I loved the beer, and it was very much an authentic Beligian. Host a sour beer tasting of only Belgian-brewed beers, and this one would never be exposed as an imposter. It's aggressive but rewarding and to my palate, delicious. If I were the brewery, I'd dispense with the crazy "brown" descriptor (it's about half Rodenbach Grand Cru and half Boon Kriek, and no Liefman's) and call it a red or something that won't indicate any precursor--"sour" ale or something like that. Otherwise, thumbs way up (an A-, if you forced a judgment from me).

[Update: I have included the sour-o-meter reading for Supplication: a 4.5. Mmmm, puckery.]