Ommegang Brewmaster Phil Leinhart’s desire to create a soured fruit beer wasn’t a possibility at his brewery in Cooperstown. The climate and current infrastructure don’t permit it. Fortunately for him, Belgian sister-brewery Liefmans not only has the capability to make such a beer, they have been definitive standard-bearers for over three hundred years. Several phone calls, e-mails and most enjoyably – taste testings – later, Rosetta was born and ready to hit America.
Leinhart’s recipe calls for a perfectly balanced blend of old (aged on cherries at least three years) and young Flemish brown ale (or oud bruin) with a lively and fruity kriek, or cherry beer. The result is a complex yet refreshing mahogany-brown brew that is an intriguing interplay of tartness and sweetness. Its elegance and depth would make Madame Rosa Merckx proud – Liefmans’ former Brewmaster and the first Belgian woman with that title in whose honor the beer is named.