Food, Beer, and Travel

a dump from the mind of Jon Piper

Posts Tagged ‘lambic’

Brussels – Brasserie Cantillon

Posted by jwpiper on February 10, 2009

Based on what I’d heard about the place and how much I love their beer, Cantillon was a must stop while I was in Brussels. I wasn’t sure how I was going to fit it into my day, but I was committed to at least peek my head in.

The brewery is just outside a shopping district in Brussels where every street was double parked on both sides. Needless to say, I spent a good bit of time to even find an illegal parking spot within a couple of blocks of the brewery. Finally, I approached the building which gave no indication that it was open, but a push on the door revealed a strange old industrial building.

From how the brewers spoke with me, it was clear that they’re used to relative newbies. They kept referring to “real” and “traditional” lambic trying to feel out my familiarity with their style. It took some insistence before they were made to understand that not only do I enjoy their style of beer, I love their beer!

The sister of one of the brewers started my on my self-guided tour through the brewing process. As I’d been told, this brewery tour isn’t quite like every other tour I’ve been on. But more than that – being there was a unique experience for me. I felt like a guest in their home – like they had opened up a deeply personal part of their lives to me. And indeed, with the reverent way they speak of the beer and the brewing process, brewing is exactly that for each of them.

They spoke of leaving the beer to its natural course and not modifying or manipulating the process in any way. It reminded me of how the first “brewers” thought of beer: as a gift from God. Indeed, it’s been theorized that manna was an beer-porridge. For millennia didn’t know what turned sugars to alcohol – they were just thankful for it. Not too different than my experience that day.

After the unique tour, I was treated to several small samples of their standard beers, including the gueuze and kriek. The other couple that wandered the brewery more or less alongside me were stopped there. However, I was also treated with a sample of a rhubarb lambic which they had “brewed on a whim” – it was so clean and a natural combination. They were out of the faro which is also usually part of the sample list, but when I asked if they had any young lambic, she wandered off and came back with a pitcher of it. It was so delicious, I had to buy a full glass. I finished out my day with a bottle of the St. Lamvinus. This seems to be a very well respected beer which I’d never yet tried partly due to the prices in the US, which can exceed $40 a bottle.

I had committed on this trip to spend more time with the lambics. I would love to have a closer look at Drie Fonteinen or Frank Boon’s operation, but my trip to Cantillon was one of best beer experiences I’ve had. Indeed, the young lambic was one of the best beers I’ve ever had. The respect the Van Roy’s have for beer demands equal respect from any visitor.





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Drie Fonteinen Oude Kriek

Posted by jwpiper on February 5, 2009

I like to start my meals at In ‘t Spinnekopke with a lambic or gueuze and this night that would be a kriek from Drie Fonteinen, one of my favorite producers of sour beers. They also usually have the gueuze on tap, but I was in the mood for a kriek. It was poured from a 375ml bottle at about 40 degrees.
Appearance
4
Pours a rich burgundy red color, with a deep pink head which recedes leaving only a ring at the edge of the glass.
Smell
4.5
Mmmmm. an explosion in the room. So bright and sour. I can almost taste it and my mouth puckers even more than when I sip it. No surprise that sour cherries fill the nose.
Taste
4.5
Immediately lemony sour on the tongue. Then sour cherries. Som faint sour apple, maybe even hints of pears. Then cherries all over the middle with earthy, nutty notes coming in and floating through to a pleasant and surprisingly not overpowering sour finish. Another sip and the process continues all the way to the end of the bottle.
Mouthfeel
5
The dry mouthfeel with sufficient carbonation is perfectly paired with the flavor.
Drinkability
4.5
A brilliant apéritif as I’m using it tonight. This is a wonderfully drinkable, low ABV beer with more than enough intrigue to keep me going.
Overall
4.55
This is a wonderful beer, very light and playful. I’m not sure the Drie Fonteinen glasses do the beer justice, however.
Price
I don’t recall the price, unfortunately.

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