Mon Cherie

Stronzo: Mon Cherie (Denmark: Sour Ale: 7.7% ABV)

Visual: Hazy dark cherry red. Moderate rouged fizz of a head.

Nose: Musky. Gin notes. Tart apples. Raspberries. Wet twigs. Strawberries. Lemon sherbet. Glacier cherries. Jammy. Vanilla toffee.

Body: Black cherry. Strawberry jam. Cake sponge. Gin. Cherries. Bourbon. Tart cider. Dry sake. Twigs and brambles. Cheesecake.

Finish: Cherry jam. Vanilla. Fudge. Bourbon. Jam sandwich. Cider. Sake air. Malt drinks.

Conclusion: So, I have been known to say I like my beer with rough edges for character. Then some arsehole has to go and test the hypothesis.

This is, yes, a beer with rough edges, but, before we get into that could you give me a moment to discuss the aroma please? When the cork first popped (Ah, corks, is there nothing you can’t make classy. On second thoughts don’t answer that) the aroma seemed quite musky and muted. There was not much going on, not much gusto. Now I am a fan of swirling my beer, something that gets the right piss taken in public, but tends to benefit the beer. Here it is pretty much required. Each swirl took it another step further, from wet twigs, through fresh picked fruit, to cider (barely) and to bourbon barrels. Well worth playing with a bit and pretty distinguished. (I blame the cork – always makes me thinks something is a tad posher)

The body? Well I enjoyed it, but it is the unusual combination of a bourbon aged jam sandwich to me. Most bourbon aged beer tends to taste of vanilla and toffee. This tastes of bourbon. Well, ok, not just bourbon, there’s also dry sake and gin. Kind of rough edged in spirit character. Over a jam sandwich. It is like the packed lunch of a stealth alcoholic who douses his sarnies in alcohol and hopes no-one notices the lighter fuel haze over his lunch.

Despite that probably pain inducing simile this is actually a fun beer. Maybe it is my love of rough edged charm, or it could be the hugely jammy fruitiness, or it could be I have been in Somerset too long and the cider like notes call to me, but any which way it is full and fruity. It never dips into cheap syrupy sweetness, for all the jam sweetness it keeps tart and sour. It earns respect the hard way, not with cheap sugar shock. The later ends of the beer become much more obviously fruity, with much more of the expected cherry rather than the more strawberry notes of earlier sips.

It is no Cantillon, nor New Glarus, being neither as insanely challenging as the first, or so richly layered as the second, but it definitely is no cheap kriekenbier of syrup, At only 200 bottles I wouldn’t say you should kill yourself looking for one, but if you see it, it has definite charm.

Background: I promise this background won’t descend into a political rant again. Probably. Anyway, the arsehole brewers. I will never stop being amused that Stronzo basically means arsehole. I am seriously, like, twelve. This is a sour beer made with cherries and aged in bourbon barrels. Also, according to the barrel it is one of only 200 bottles made. Which means about 7% of the bottles that exists have been reviewed for rate beer. Also 0.5% have been reviewed by a childish person who writes for a blog called alcohol and aphorisms. This was drunk while listening to brassick again and the beer was shared with friends. I called dibs on the bit from the bottom of the bottle as that tends to be the most flavorsome. There is a joke in there somewhere I am sure…