Story, photos by Elspeth Misiaszek
If you want to see craft beer aficionados crinkle their noses, offer them a fruit beer. Better yet, put fruit in their beer a la Blue Moon oranges or Corona limes. For the longest time, it’s simply not been commonly accepted that the world of tasty fruit and manly beer should meet … until now.
Known for their high-octane selections, Ommegang Brewery has long been a staple in the craft brew world. Even their signature 750ml bottles seemed to laugh in the face of lower ABV beers.
Ommegang Brewery has recently created the mother of all fruit beers, a cherry lambic. Dare we snobbishly reference her as a Belgian kriek? Named Rosetta after the first female brewer of Belgium, the tart brew is far from ladylike.
In fact, Rosetta spends 18 months mellowing in a cask with cherries before she’s blended into a bottle-worthy beverage. At just 5.6% ABV, she’s also designed to be an approachable beer that can be enjoyed all night long. Wait, was Ommegang’s brewmaster Phil Leinhart trying to tell us something here?
Sly references aside, he certainly created one sweet, sour and sassy cherry brew for the world to enjoy. In fact, Rosetta’s so special, she’s even brewed by Liefman’s, a sister brewery considered better equipped to handle her fragile temperament.
At the City Tap House in Logan Square, Explore Philly sampled Rosetta with a few perfect pairings. The chef started with a a duck prosciutto flatbread. Perfectly balanced with a parsley walnut pesto, the sharp parmesan shavings cut the acid of the cherry lambic. Surprise bites of sweet cherry jam also topped the pizza.
The second course relied on a strong French mustard blended with tart cherries to cut the German cambozola cheese. The mild, creamy blue cheese similar to a brie in texture, was accompanied by candied walnuts on a cheeseboard.
As the chef cordially announced, we were to create our own perfect bite out of his selections. While crusty bread was included, who needs carbs when faced with such a well-laid flight of deliciousness?
The lunch ended with a chocolate bread pudding beside fresh berry compote and crème anglaise. Served warm and swimming in sweet cream, the berries bought out the more subtle elements of jam in the cherry lambic.
How should you drink your Rosetta? While it’s certainly difficult work deciding on the best pairing for any beer, as Rosetta rose to room temperature, her balance between sweet and sour became more apparent.
While creamy cheese and crusty flatbread have their merits, Rosetta didn’t need either to hold her own on the menu. She stood out perfectly, proudly, as a fruit beer to be reckoned with – even by beer aficionados on the craft brew scene.
Rosetta can be purchased in smaller 11.2oz bottles anywhere that Ommegang beer is currently sold. Check their website for additional details. Rosetta is also launching in the Philadelphia area with “A Week of Pairings” at top local craft beer bars and restaurants, below:
- Monday, 10/19 – Spinnerstown Hotel (Quakertown, PA) from 5 to 8 p.m.
- Tuesday, 10/20 – Station Taproom (Downingtown, PA) from 5 to 8 p.m.
- Wednesday, 10/21 – Iron Abbey (Horsham, PA) from 7 to 10 p.m.
- Thursday, 10/22 – City Tap House University City (Philadelphia, PA) from 5 to 8 p.m.
- Friday, 10/23 – Devil’s Den (Philadelphia, PA) from 5 to 8 p.m.
All will feature a hot appetizer or small plate, a cheese, and a dessert, all chosen or crafted by the chef on site to pair with Rosetta. Please check social media and restaurant websites for more detailed information.