Rosetta- Ale Aged on Cherries
$4.19/Bottle (11.2 oz)
Welcome one and all to my first ever two-part review. As a bit of an experiment I’m pitting two similar beers against each other in a beer battle. The first contender is Rosetta from Ommegang, a Belgian ale aged on cherries. The cherry elements are new-fangled addition that caught my eye because it is summer and I loves me some fruit in the summer. It’s a bit pricey, though- so I’m going to indulge this week and then hit up a less fancy American beer that targets the same taste buds. Ommegang is one of the first craft breweries I ever tried, mainly because the guy who got me into craft beer liked to say “Ommegang.” Say it a few times, you’ll see how nice it feels on the tongue.
The Brewer’s Pitch:
Rosetta starts as a very traditional Belgian Kriek beer. Ommegang’s brewmaster wasn’t content to leave it at that, though, and he wanted to make a soured fruit beer. Ommegang looked to its sister brewery, Liefmans, to help with the blending and voila! Rosetta! Well maybe not so simple as “voila,” since the beer is a blend of both old and new Flemish brown ale, and the old part is aged on cherries for a minimum of three years. Some cherry kriek is added to the mix, and THEN you get the sweetly tart Rosetta. The beer is available year round but goes particularly well with light and summery fare.
Rosetta looks brown as it pours, but shine a light through the glass and you see the deep ruby glint shining through. The head is fairly thin but lingers, and a very faint hint of tart cherry hits the nose. The taste is anything but faint, though, as an incredibly sharp tart cherry flavor immediately hits your tongue. The sweetness follows soon after but never gets a chance to settle on the tongue- the sour is strong with this one. It bites its way over and around the tongue and onto the soft palate and leaves a
tingle behind. The sour is by far and away the dominant flavor here and it actually reminds me of a sour cherry juice I used to love when I was younger. The aftertaste is lingering bite and just a hint of bitterness.
The flavor is definitely good and, unlike many beers that have a flavor added to a base beer, the sour cherry is definitely there. Like many sour beers this one pushes the envelope on the single-note sour flavor and is teetering on the line of having it be overbearing. I don’t shy away from strong flavor but I had to slow down drinking this because, as good as the cherry taste was, the sourness was nearly painful on my palate. This is definitely not a casual drinker, but at the price it’s something you could justify sharing. This is a really good beer that has its place more as a small-glass palate cleanser for after a good meal.
The Bottom Line:
Come back next week to see the finest that a simpler American brewery has to put up against this high-end masterpiece!