As part of the month of sours I will be sampling a couple sours, one from Belgium and one from the US. The sample tonight is the Belgian Lambic Cuvee Rene from Brouwerij Lindemans out of Veezenbeek Belgium.
The version I am drinking is the Grand Cru Cuvee Rene. This is a traditional gueuze that has been refermented in the bottle using the Methode Champenoise. This is the traditional French method of making sparkling wines. Not only do these bottles have a cap but they are also corked.
Gueuze are fermented the same way as other lambics, spontaneous fermentation. This means that instead of the brewer pitching yeast, the beer is left in open vats that allows the micro flora of the region and in the brewery to settle on the top of the cooling wort. This fermentation can take anywhere from one to three years. Before finally bottling the beers are blended. In the case of the Grand Cru the ratio is 2/3 young Lambic to 1/3 old Lambic. This gives the beer its distinctive flavor.
What you can expect: Sherry, citrus (Lemon), cider, slight notes of vanila, They can be sour but a balance between the malt and sour is more common.
The glass in my hand:
The color is a pale gold, hazy due to the bacteria and barrel aging. It poured with a decent amount of foam but it dissipated quickly. The first thing that jumps out at you is the sour. Even knowing that it will be there going in it can shock you. It is acidic but not overly so. Lemons with hints of vanilla are the main flavors I pick up as I drink it. The vanilla notes keep it from tipping into the lemon drop sweet and sour flavors. On the back end I pick up a richness that plays under the acidity.
This is the kind of beer you want on a hot summer day. I feel almost wrong for drinking it on a cold winter day. Overall, this is a great example of what a classic sour can be (Rated at 91 on beer advocate if those numbers mean anything to you).
Time for a pint…