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The Ginger Man

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  • Robert Nov 13, 2000 02:47 PM

The Ginger Man has Rodenbach Ale on Tap for $9 an imperial pint.
Rodenbach is an awesome Belgium ale which is fruity and tart. In Philly you can't ever find it on tap and the last I did they were charging $7.50 for an 8 oz wine gobblet.

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  1. Robert--Rodenbach or Rodenbach Gran Cru?

    I hope the latter (one of the best ten beers in the world, but an acquired taste)

    ciao

    22 Replies
    1. re: Jim Leff

      My partner is crazy for Belgian beers on tap (he's partial to Corsendanck but just starting out on this quest). Trouble is finding a place that's got both a great selection of beers and a pleasant atmosphere. Ginger Man gets a bit loud...and we've been disappointed by Markt (too trendy), Burp Castle (lugubrious, limited selection)and Cafe des Bruxelles (indifferent service, depressing vibe).
      Any bars/restaurants that you love?

      1. re: Pam

        You're gonna hate me for this answer, but Belgian beers are not meant to be drunk on tap. At all. In fact, it's kind of a marketing abomination.

        The beauty of Belgian beers is their bottle conditioning...the yeasty sediment that literally lives in the beer and makes it more complex and wonderful as time goes by (I age Belgians ten years or more).

        Americans, under the misguided idea that ALL beers are better on tap, have exerted market pressure on belgian brewers to provide keg versions, and, being businessmen, they do it. But it's really not the best way to drink these exquisite beers.

        There are a few exceptions: any of Belgian's (or any other nation's) lagers work as good on tap as any other way (Stella Artois is the antichrist, by the way). And Rodenbach has a tradition of being served on tap over there, so that's cool too. Some lambics are traditionally served on tap as well, though the kegs of Cantillon, etc, that I"ve had in NYC have shown they don't travel well.

        But, to answer your question....well, actually I've alread answered it. Use link below for a message describing the best beer bars (all of whom offer a good amount of Belgians)

        Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

        1. re: Jim Leff

          The tap thing makes perfect sense. THAT'S why the bottled Corsendank always taste so much better! Forgive my ignorance...but your tutelage is what keeps me coming here. Will check out the beer thread.
          Thanks again!

          1. re: Jim Leff

            Jim, I believe it was the red ale not the gran gru. Fortunatly, I prefer the red ale but I have not experienced the gran cru recently.
            As you pointed out in a prior thread, I agree that most belgium beer do better out of the bottle. However, the Rodenbach they are pouring now at GM is perfect. Don't let them know I'd pay twice what they are charging.

            1. re: Robert

              The gran cru actually IS the red ale...but blended young and old versions. Regular Rodenbach is only the younger beer...less complex and subtle, and a whole lot less acidic (the acidity of the gran cru comes from aging in oak).

              If you like these beers, try Boone's lambic products. And if they don't prove too sour and eccentric for you, it's time to go for a postdoctoral: get yourself a bottle of Cantillon. Sulphurous, highly tart, and funky.

              ciao

              1. re: Jim Leff

                Big Dog, I think the regular Rodenbach is a blend of young and old, while the Grand Cru is 100% wood-aged yummy stuff.

                1. re: Jim Dorsch

                  Jim--

                  thanks. you are, of course, totally right. How could I have made such a stupid mistake?

                  In any case, my point is still that the grand cru is sourer and more complex because it contains more of the old, which has picked up flavor from the oak barrels (and also just by virtue of the aging process, which does magical things to belgian beer).

                  Actually, I'll not totally retract. It's agreed all around (including by Rodenbach's US importer) that a few years ago the brewer altered the proportion of young/old beers in the regular Rodenbach, and now uses a much higher percentage of the younger beer (which makes for a less sour and characterful drink that's easier on the palatte for The Masses). I've stuck to the grand cru ever since, being a rather extreme reactionary when it comes to Belgian beer.

                  ciao

                  1. re: Jim Leff

                    It is a privilege to be amongst such total beer geeks. I was glad to have discovered a somewhat obsure beer on tap in a cool little bar. You guys take is to the next level by debating the exact percentages of old v. new vintages and the type of casts.
                    "I'm not worthy" Bow, Bow.

                    1. re: Robert

                      Jim's the really credentialed beer geek. He's one of the best-known beer writers/editors in the country.

                      I do love Belgian beer, though. I wish I had time to do a site about it. I wish I had time to do sites about a lot of things.

                      ciao

                      1. re: Jim Leff

                        Big Dog, you have pretty good beer credentials yourself, and might easily surpass this geek specifically in the Belgian area.

                        Speaking of Rodenbach, I saw the brewery a couple years ago. It's unbelievable to see all those huge, wooden tuns filled with quietly resting Rodenbach. Some of them are very, very large.

                        Robert can learn a lot about Belgian beer, and beer in general, by reading some of Michael Jackson's works, such as the Pocket Guide, in its brand new Running Press edition, or the Beer Companion. And if he buys the books through the Chowhound link, he can help support the cause!

                        Link: http://www.chowhound.com/reading/read...

                        1. re: Jim Dorsch

                          Hey, revenge came quick! You just made an unlikely oversight; don't forget that (as you well know), Michael Jackson has a book devoted specifically to Belgian Beer. It's a must-buy for anyone taking any interest at all in this thread. Use link below to go to its order page at Amazon.com (I've rigged the URL so this site gets a commission if you buy it)

                          Warning! Highly Technical Note, Totally Off-Topic:
                          We get a larger commission from a URL like the one below--one that goes to a specific book page with "/chowhoundcomA/" added after the ISBN number --than if you use the search box on our home page, so technically adept users are asked to take this step whenever possible!

                          ciao

                          Link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISB...

                          1. re: Jim Leff

                            If anyone is interested, we can run through some other fine resources for those interested in Belgian beers and/or traveling to Belgium with an interest in beer.

                            And we'll do this on the International board!

            2. re: Jim Leff

              Just a short footnote--
              spent a little time drinking beer in Brussels and can confirm that Stella Artois is indeed the Budweiser of Belgium.

              1. re: Tom M

                Unlike mainstream American beers, Belgian Pilseners have a good, refreshing character and some hop flavor and bitterness.

                As a side note, Stella still operates a traditional floor maltings in Leuven.

            3. re: Pam

              wait...I just caught that you said Cafe des Bruxelles has a "depressing vibe".

              Please tell me you don't mean the bar...one of my favorite places in the whole world, ambiance-wise

              Food is spotty as is service, and a beer and a pommes frite will set you back $15, but the combo of those things at that bar is such a potent antidepressant that I won't go more than twice a year, for fear of diluting the effect!!

              ciao

              1. re: Pam

                My wife and I are partial to dba (except on weekend nights, when it gets to crowded) and Swift's (ditto). Both have good selections of bottled Belgian beers. Swift's is a little cheaper, last I checked.

                My friend Pierre Jelenc hosts a very good web site on this subject. Check it out at

                http://www.nycbeer.org/toc.html

                1. re: Tom M

                  Pierre Jelenc is also on our team here at chowhound! I agree that's a great site.

                  Hey, everybody: while I was happy to riff on Rodenbach on this board...seing as how it's being served in Manhattan...if we're gonna expand this thread much more, let's steer miscellaneous beer postings to the General Topics board and Belgian stuff pertinent to traveling/drinking over there on the International board.

                  As always, if you'd like to reply to a specific message on one board by posting on another, just post a "heads up!" reply on the first board inviting people over to the other board (and let us know how you've named the new thread over there)

                  ciao

                2. re: Pam

                  Cendrillon, a Filipino rest. on Mercer in Soho has a wonderful selection of many different styles of Belgian and other beer that marries well with the Southeast asian food. Most are bottled (Corsedonk, Rodenbach, Duvel, etc...) but some are on tap (Leffe I think). REcently, we had a wonderful bottle of Foret, an unfiletered beer.

                  There was a report by Patrick a few weeks ago that meal there was below par -- I pray that this is not true, I just couldn't stand it.

                  1. re: Alan Divack

                    I don't doubt Patrick's report, but it might have been a temporary hitch. A friend with excellent taste says this:

                    I've been there quite a number of times and the food has never
                    been other than outstanding. The wine list is also excellent--
                    short but with some surprisingly good things

                    1. re: Jim Leff

                      That is good to hear. I have actuallly never had wine at Cendrillon -- to busy expolring the beers. However, one of the outstanding features of the restaurant is the care with which they have put together a wine and beer selection to complement the food.

                      1. re: Alan Divack

                        but what about the food?
                        I was there shortly after they opened and wasn't overly impressed.. The excellent bread, however, was from the Sullivan Street Bakery!
                        (Is it still?)

                      2. re: Jim Leff

                        I did have a below-par meal there recently, but I will give Cendrillon several more chances before I give up on it. It's an old standby for me in the neighborhood (which is near where I work), and in the past it's always been very delicious.

                        My favorite Belgian there is Moinette Blonde. It has the curious Belgian characteristic of being intense and light at the same time, and goes splendidly with the food (particularly the chutneys and the adobo).

                        Patrick