De Proefbrouwerij is the brainchild of the highly regarded Belgian professor and brewing engineer, Dirk Naudts and his wife.
Prior to creating De Proefbrouwerij, Dirk was the Brewmaster at Roman Brewery. He also directed the brewing studies program at the prestigious St. Lieven University in Gent, Belgium.
Zoetzuur translates to sweet and sour, which could not be a more appropriate name for this ale.
Zoetzuur is fermented with a combination of the cultured yeast Saccharomyces and the “semi-wild” yeast Brettanomyces. Brettanomyces (aka “Brett”) is the enemy of most winemakers as well as the classic type of “semi-wild” yeast used in Belgium.
Zoetzuur was originally created exclusively for the Michael Jackson Rare Beer Club. SBS Imports is the current importer for Zoetzuur and several other beers from De Proef, including the Brewmaster’s Collection series and Brewmaster’s Collaboration series. You can get further info at www.sbs-imports.com.
I’ve had the opportunity to drink Zoetzuur twice – once in November and once in early March. Unfortunately, both times were at the same wine bar and I have not been able to find it retail. Both times I shared this crazy sweet and sour ale with friends that were not familiar with Flemish sour ales. Everyone who tasted it agreed that it is a fantastic, unique and delicious beer.
And, without any further ado … allow me to present:
THE BEER WENCH’S TASTING NOTES: De Proefbrouwerij ZOETZUUR
Style: Flemish Wild Ale
Brewery: De Proefbrouwerij
Region: Lochristi, Belgium
Malt: 2-Row Munich, Pilsner, and Cara malt
Hops: Tomahawk, East Kent Goldings
Flavoring: Sweet-and-Sour Black Cherry Juice (aka Kriek juice)
Yeast: Mixed Fermentation of Saccharomyces & Brettanomyces. Lactobacillus is naturally produced, fermenting the sugars in the juice.
Original Gravity: 1072 (18 Plato)
Alcohol Volume: 8.5% ABV
Pairings: Cheese, Poultry, Seafood
Color: Super cloudy with heavy sediment. Dark brown amber color with off-white head.
Carbonation: Moderate. Thick foamy head. Pretty decent lacing.
Aroma: Sour dough, sour fruits – apple & cherry, soy sauce, oak, orange peel … apple cider vinegar. There are also hints of a “barnyard funk.”
Mouthfeel: Light to moderate body.
Flavor: Fermented apple cider. Sour cherries. Very tangy. Hints of oak and sweet malt. Slight vinegar taste – which is not necessarily a bad thing.
Finish: Relatively high ABV is undetectable. Finish is short, yet super smooth and crisp!
Comments: The Wench says “I absolutely love it. This beer is uber tasty… super drinkable and very dangerous! Zoetzuur is one saucy ale!”
I would definitely recommend this beer to anyone and everyone – even if sours are not your thing, it is definitely worth a try.