Friday, October 1, 2010

An Interesting Taste Sensation - Chapeau Gueuze Lambic

I have never before tried a Lambic beer but those who have invariably rave about it. I had imagined that it was one of those love it or hate it situations. For those who are not familiar with the Lambic style here is a quick overview from our friends at Wikipedia:

Lambic is a very distinctive type of beer brewed only in the Pajottenland region of Belgium (southwest of Brussels) and in Brussels itself at the Cantillon Brewery and museum. Lambic is now mainly consumed after refermentation, resulting in derived beers such as Geuze or Kriek.

Where has this beer style been all my life.
Unlike conventional ales and lagers, which are fermented by carefully cultivated strains of brewer's yeasts, lambic beer is instead produced by spontaneous fermentation: it is exposed to the wild yeasts and bacteria that are said to be native to the Senne valley, in which Brussels lies. It is this unusual process which gives the beer its distinctive flavour: dry, vinous, and cidery, with a slightly sour aftertaste.

So after seeking some recommendations from some Sour Aficianados I picked up a bottle of Chapeau Gueuze Lambic brewed by Brouwerij De Troch. The first thing that strikes you when you take the cap off is that it also has a cork, once uncorked the beer pours a red colour, nearly reminiscent of an Irish Red or American Amber Ale. The head is small and dissipates quickly to leave a thin line of white froth. Very unusual aroma (well, unusual for somebody who has never tried a lambic!), the dominant aroma is of cider apples with that sweet aroma that you would expect from a good craft cider, hiding somewhere in the background is also a slight funkiness.

So after my first sip, did I love it or hate it? I have to say that I instantly loved it. Thick, sweet, fizzy, with a lovely subtle sourness on the end. This for me is a bit of a revelation, where has this beer style been all my life, Belgium probably. The mouthfeel is so good, thick bodied and with each sip it coats your mouth and throat, but not in a bad way, this just allows the flavours to repeat in your mouth long after you have swallowed the beer. The sourness on the end is so subtle you would nearly miss it, but again that flavour characteristic stays with you for quite a while.

A fantastic beer, a fantastic new style to explore. I would highly recommend picking up a bottle of this.


The Beer Nut said...

Time to move on to the harder stuff: get some Oude Geuze Boon and Mariage Parfait next.

Mark (Halite) said...

sounds good, I'll have a trawl through Drinkstore and see what I can come up with