Hofbrouwerijke - Flower Sour
- ABV: 7%
- Serving Temperature: 50–57° F
- Suggested Glassware: Snifter, Tulip, or Burgundy Glass
When we’d first heard about Flower Sour—brewed with lavender, chamomile, heather, and dandelion, with tart highlights—we were intrigued. We previously featured Hofbrouwerijke’s Hofblues Stout and Imperial Hofblues Stout as monthly selections in The Rare Beer Club™, so we were especially curious to see what this brewery offered from a different angle of things.
When we were finally able to actually taste the beer, we found it to be one of the most generous flower-driven beers we’ve ever sampled, conjuring memories of Fantome’s Pissenlit (when at its finest) and Southampton’s Cuvee Des Fleurs (were that beer a bit bouncier). The Flower Sour from Hofbrouwerijke is almost like a Flemish brown ale, with that sweet-and-sour part, intermixed with a generous extraction of floral flavors and aromatics. This pours rather hazy, a dense coppery color that, much like its flavor profile, tends to fall between Flanders brown and red ales. Though there are floral intricacies and a toasty malt complexity lurking beneath, a juicy, citrusy jolt of (we assume) Brett-invoked complexity livens this rarity up a great deal.
We’re not entirely sure how good of a handle we have on the whole heather thing, but those notes from lavender, chamomile, and dandelion (again, conjuring the Pissenlit bottles of our past) appear quite generously and clearly, even when this is quite cold. When allowed a bit of time to warm in the glass—taking occasional, you know, scientifically minded sips—there’s a further fullness in how expressively those floral notes show through. The net effects, beyond the additions actually in there, include notes approximating black pepper, cinnamon, and the spiciness of fresh ginger. The lemony, brightly tart qualities make it undoubtedly refreshing.
The taste is just as good. Rich, peppery and ginger-like notes lead the charge, expanding out into more recognizable floral shapes with a bit more familiarity on the tongue (at least as far as our palates went). There’s the vibrant carbonation working alongside that citrusy tartness, adding a further enlivening lift. We’re hardly alone in finding the presence of chamomile (at least when well rendered) to be a comforting one; here, it affords an herbaceous, gingery and almost apple-like presence. There’s a touch of a cinnamon-apple character here, and what we found most remarkable even early on was how seamless this beer felt throughout: seemingly divergent parts fitting together in a way that felt smooth and inviting. It’s a welcoming beer.
We could see Flower Sour bottles developing rather nicely with some additional time for that tartness to play out. When we consider potential food pairings, we can’t help but be thinking about roasted chicken or a fresh chevre: things that naturally go well with flowers and herbs.
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