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Chicagoist's Beer Of The Week: Brewery Vivant's Big Red Coq

By Jason Baldacci in Food on Aug 1, 2014 8:30PM

Photo credit: Chuck Sudo/Chicagoist

This week, we're taking a look at one of the many Belgian-Style beers that's being brewed in the Midwest.

Hailing from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Brewery Vivant bills their Big Red Coq as a Hoppy Belgo-American Red Ale. Not so surprisingly, it pours a vibrant copper-red color in the glass, and the nose is loaded with a tropical, floral hop bouquet. On the palate, that hop profile comes to life in the form of bright citrus fruits and earthy lemongrass. While the hops are definitely dominant, there is a solid malt backbone that lends a nice, toasted grain note, along with a hint of toffee and plenty of spicy, Belgian yeast that gives the whole thing a hefty dose of character. At 6 percent alcohol content, Big Red Coq is a nice spin on the Belgian Pale Ale style that a lot of American craft breweries are playing with these days.

More and more craft breweries are making Belgian-Style beers, but what does that actually mean? Belgium is a pretty small country with hundreds of operating breweries and centuries of brewing history. They're known for a proverbial grab bag of different styles, from dubbels to tripels, blondes to bruines, saisons to lambics, calling a beer Belgian-Sstyle can mean a lot of different things. For American breweries, they're usually referring to the yeast strain they use to ferment the beer. Most Belgian yeast strains are more fruity, spicy, or tangy than their German or English counterparts, and American brewers like them for the robust and distinct flavors they bring to the table.

Big Red Coq is available in 16-ounce tall boy cans all around town. Check to see where you can snag some this weekend.