I’ve had a bottle of Rodenbach Alexander stored in my closet for the better part of a year. I’ve been saving it for my mother, the craft beer convert I’m most proud of. It was no easy task.
My mother catches a buzz from a thimble full of wine. I once saw her topple over just looking at a bottle of Jim Beam. She probably just breaks 100 pounds. She does yoga. Eats healthy and drinks infrequently. Getting her into craft beer, especially the heavy stuff, was difficult. She’s your prototypical, I’ll-just-take-a-seltzer-and-lime, please and thank you, type of lady.
Converting her was done one bottle at a time. My first success was at a hip wine bar that we sometimes hit up when she visits me in NYC. (She peppers the word “hip” into her lexicon as soon as she sets foot in the city.) They had a craft beer menu for the non-wine people of the world, and it was littered with sour and funky beer. I ordered her an expensive, barrel-aged Allagash and bam, she got it. The beer wasn’t watery and dialed down. It was sour and funky and woody and an easy transition from wine, especially the dry reds that she favors.
From there I got pushed her farther into sours and wild ales, which is where she’s kicked back and made herself quite at home. I think its best to give the “best” or most “traditional” example of a style when helping to foster a young craft beer addiction. So in the middle of last year, when I heard Rodenbach brewed Alexander — their legendary sour red ale — again after a 17 year hiatus I was all over it.
Here’s to mother’s everywhere. And here’s to introducing everyone to your passions, even if it means waiting for a year to mail a bottle.
Last released in 2000, the beer became something of a whale, fetching close to $1000 a bottle, especially after craft beer started to boom in America. It’s a foederbier — a blend of beers aged up to two years in oak foeders — macerated with sour cherries and widely considered one of the best examples of the style. It’s complexity can stand up to the top tier of beers produced today. Some might describe it as having hints of vanilla and almond, all balanced with tart cherry and a malt backbone. To me it tastes like cherry Pez grew up and joined the country club.
Now, with Mother’s Day this Sunday, I finally get to ship it to her. So here’s to finding the best for those whom we love. Here’s to mother’s everywhere. And here’s to introducing everyone to your passions, even if it means waiting for a year to mail a bottle.