oude tart


I suppose as a beer blogger, I should be aware of events like this one: a small local liquor store two miles outside of the capital square in Madison and for some reason Patrick Rue is just chilling there giving out free samples of his beer. Well I guess I’m just a lazy lucky bastard because I had no damn idea who was about to be waiting for me inside those doors while taking a rather meaningless stroll down Willy street a few days ago. I spotted the sign immediately: free beer tasting, 4-6 PM. I check my phone. It reads 4:19 let’s gooooooo. Now for those of you who aren’t familiar with the Orange County based Bruery, you should be. Simply put, they might be the best relatively young brewery in the country, opening shop in 2008, and making some of the most creative and complex beers out there ever since. Patrick is the CEO and founder, so I can’t really tell you what in the world would bring the incredibly successful brewer to a quaint little store in Madison, WI, but I guess it was just my lucky day. Patrick brought along 7 beers for everyone to sample, four of which I’ve had before. 


A hoppy Belgian Ale, or Belgian style IPA, Mischief brings bright yeast, fruit, and spice to compliment a relatively tame hop backbone, 

Saison Rue

This is one of my favorite Saisons from the US, period. It’s funky, and grainy in that whole grain mustard kind of way, with a little sour lemon and yeast. 

Trade Winds Triple

An unusual take on the Belgian Triple, Trade Winds is brewed with basil and thyme, allowing for a very earthy and almost Italian breadstick like quality. Not my personal favorite but worth a try if for no other reason than its unique flavor profile. 

Oude Tart

Alright onto the really good stuff. Oude Tart is a phenomenal sour and one of my highlights of the tasting. Darker than a lambic but a bit ligher in color than most sour red ales, Oude Tart balanced sour fruits with a sugary sweetness and dry oak finish. 

Tart of Darkness

Never having tried a sour stout before I was the most curious to try Tart of Darkness. I have to say it easily lives up to the potential. Dark sour cranberries, grapes and cherries sting the pallet before dark coffee flavors from the roasted malts sooth your tongue in the finish. Remarkable beer. 

Autumn Maple

I’m not sure why Patrick was sampling this after the super flavorful sour beers, because it really didn’t get the venue it deserved after such pallet-wreckers like Oude Tart, and Tart of Darkness. Still I’ve had it before and can tell you that Autumn Maple is a great fall beer. Brewed with yams and spices, the result is a refreshing alternative to the popular pumpkin beer. 

Smoking Wood

Wood flavors are often infused into beers to some extent, but never really manage to dominate the brew, and even when they do that’s typically not a good thing. Smoking Wood on the other hand proves that wood is good. Using smoked malts, they aged the beer in rye whiskey barrels with a considerable amount of rye malt used as well. The result is a super rich woody, grainy, bready, and smokey beer. This thing tastes like a campfire in the best way.