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Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour AleI’m fairly new to the world of sours; brettanomyces, lactobacillus, pediococcus and the like. I’m slowing learning the different flavors and the different causes of “sourness” in beer. I put sourness in quotes because most of the beers don’t remind me of what I think of when I think sour, but are more tart or earthy and funky.

I picked up this 11.2oz bottle of Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour Ale at Keg-n-Bottle on El Cajon and College for $3.29. I had hopes that this might be an easy to find, affordable and convenient beer being in a smaller bottle and all ($3.29 isn’t bad for a small bottle of a sour beer in my experience, they tend to be more expensive than many other non-sour beers. Based on my limited experience I’ve come to learn I like the really tart sours with lactic acid. This didn’t have much of that. It isn’t a bad beer, but not what I expected.

Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour Ale is brewed for the Monk’s Cafe Philadelphia bar and restaurant by the Belgian brewery Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

It’s dark red in color with a fully white head. There is a slight balsamic vinegar smell that is common in some sour beers. It smells both sweet and tart, reminiscent of a granny smith apple. I think I can smell some characteristic of wood or barrel aging but I’m not positive.

The taste is far sweeter than I imagined and there isn’t much of a vinegar flavor. It’s very fruity with a lot of berry and cherry flavors. There taste, like the smell, reminds me of a granny smith apple, more sweet than tart. There’s just a bit of earthy funk and maybe wood flavors in the dry finish.

Not a bad beer, but way more fruity than I expected. I wouldn’t have labeled this “sour” had I done a blind taste test. But that’s one of the things to like about sour beers, there are a wide range of flavors. I probably won’t be drinking this too often but it might be a good beer for people that haven’t had many sour beers to easy their way into it.