Tuesday, August 11, 2009

42. Cantillon Classic Gueuze

Cantillon Classic Gueuze is from Brasserie Cantillon Brouwerij in Brussels, Belgium. Gueuze is a spontaneously fermented sour ale aged in oak barrels and blended for bottling—part older and part younger—to make gueuze. As Cantillon’s website observes: “In the 18th century, a Benedictine monk, dom Pérignon, discovers the champaign method by blending different non sparkling white wines. One century later, a Brabant brewer blends different lambics and brings about a spontaneous fermentation in the bottle. The Gueuze is born...Gueuze became the icon of the Brussels beers.”

Cantillon Classic Gueuze has a tart sour nose and a deep golden tan color. The head is pretty limited on this one; what was there was light and white and quickly faded. Beginning tart and citrusy with candy notes and fruity esters, Cantillon Classic Gueuze’s middle merges with the front and back to close with a citric tartness that lingers on the palate. The tart and sharp mouthfeel puckers the tongue nicely—it is bright and citrusy on the tongue—and the low level of carbonation still has some bite in the body. With some warmth, the candy notes in the nose become more tangy, and the sourness becomes more prevalent in the flavor and mouthfeel with less acidity and tartness and more sour puckering flavors. A bright, sharp, and citrusy beer overall, similar to but also discernable from other sour beers we’ve had—it’s no dirty bandaid.

From Cantillon’s website: “Every blending will produce a different Gueuze. Since we work according to a natural process, it is impossible to make a standard beer. This beer is not only unique because of its brewing process, but also because it can be conserved for a long time. When kept in a good cellar, a Cantillon Gueuze will still have an exceptional taste and flavour after 20 years.”

On Saturday, March 6, 2010, Cantillon will be holding a public brewing: “the Master brewer, his family and friends invite you to the great brewing fair and propose you to experience the various steps in the really traditional production of the Lambic and Gueuze.” As if I really needed an excuse to cut out and head to Belgium...


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