Brouwerij Roman - Gentse Strop
Serving Temperature:45-50° F
Suggested Glassware:Goblet or Tulip
This brew gets its name from the “stroppendragers,” or noose-wearers, of Ghent in 1540. Having refused to pay a war tax to Charles V, the most prominent rebels were paraded through the streets with nooses around their necks as a threat from the emperor, and the term stroppendrager has been associated with the people of Ghent ever since. Pouring a bright golden color with a plentiful head of just-off-white foam, Gentse Strop offers up a nicely balanced and inviting aroma. Note that there may be a little yeast sediment at the bottom of this bottle-conditioned ale. Look for underlying malty aromas of light caramel and honey, overlaid with spicy Belgian yeast contributions and a dose of noble hops delivering herbal, earthy, and grassy notes, along with a subtle fruitiness. In the flavor, those malts form a very satisfying core with plenty of biscuit and honey-like notes offering a dash of sweetness which is countered by mild hop bitterness and that vibrant, spicy, and herbal hop and yeast character. For food pairings, we'd steer toward well-seasoned seafood dishes, fish & chips, pork loin or chops with a fruity sauce, or cheeses such as earthy brie and camembert, or aged cheddars, cheshire, or gloucester. Cheers!
Let’s discuss for a few moments the explosion of Belgian beers in the USA. Whether it was your first Hoegaarden, perhaps a Saison Dupont, or that first magic sip of Duvel or Chimay, chances are your first taste of Belgian beer left a profound impact on you, and maybe even expanded your own working definition of what beer “is.” Maybe it was the shock that a pale Belgian ale could taste so interesting, be so palatable, and carry an 8%+ ABV without any indication of its strength catching your interest in the flavor profile. Or perhaps it was your reaction to the spicy phenolics inherent to so many Belgian yeast strains. Or possibly you tried your first Trappist Tripel and it tasted like nothing you’d ever sampled before. And it is that very difference that has helped make Belgian beer so popular in the US.
US craft-brewers, and even macrobrewers, have capitalized on Belgian beer popularity, creating their own “Belgian-style” beers. Therein lies the problem. Now with so many Belgian-themed beers out there, what happens to the family brewers of Belgium who really lay claim to being traditional Belgian brewers? While they remain unique and limited, the consumer can understandably be confused by the virtually ubiquitous use of the word “Belgian” on beers found at their favorite beer bar or retail store.
So what’s a brewery like Brouwerij Roman, brewing since at least 1545 – making it the oldest family brewery in Belgium, to do to distinguish itself from other Belgian-labeled beers? Join a sort of guild of Belgian family brewers, of course. Belgian Family Brewers is a non-profit association whose members have been brewing in Belgium for at least 50 years, non-stop. Together they represent just 15% of Belgian brewers, with a total of more than 1,500 years of experience in traditional beer brewing. The label denoting this status can be found on each bottle of beer brewed by Brouwerij Roman and other members. Seeing the BFB logo lets the consumer know that the beer is a genuine Belgian beer brewed in Belgium, comes from an independent family brewery that has been making beer for at least 50 years and is thus a traditional brewery, and that it is an original beer, meaning no copies of the recipe are sold under any other name or label.
Brouwerij Roman's story begins in 1545 when Joos Roman began brewing at his inn along the Franco-German trade route. Though he also ran a farm and a mill, brewing would become the family's main focus over the next few generations. Today's current brewhouse in Oudenaarde dates to around 1930, inside of which Brouwerij Roman produces a range of traditional Belgian beers, including abbey-style ales, blonde and dark ales, witbier, and more. This family brewery is currently run by the 14th generation, Carlo and Lode Roman. To learn more about this historic Belgian brewery, visit them at www.roman.be.
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