My good friend Eoin, a self-taught wine and beer connoisseur, has very kindly agreed to guest blog for today’s post. Here are his words of wisdom on a special Lambic beer – enjoy!
One of the great pleasures about Belgium and its multitude of beers is the wide choice of styles and flavors. Lambic beer is an acquired taste, but once the effort has been made, it is definitely worth it.
Lambic beer is made through spontaneous fermentation. Once the wheat, barley and hops have been brewed, they are left to ferment naturally, which happens magically in the Brussels area due to wild yeast strains in the Senne River valley. After this initial fermentation process is complete, a second type of fermentation takes place in wooden casks, with many micro-organisms helping the process along. This includes spiders and their webs too. Yummy!
What does the beer taste like? Pure Lambic has quite an austere, tangy flavor. Lambic beers mixed with fruit are more accessible, and one of my particular favourites comes from the Cantillon brewery inAnderlecht.
It’s called Cantillon Vigneronne and is produced by blending Lambic (usually 2 to 3 years old) with muscat grapes. The nose gives hints of grape and even citrus and apple. The taste is slightly sharp and acidic initially, with a subtle grape flavor, but reveals itself more fully as it opens up.
If you want something to nibble on the side, this beer goes very well with old cheeses. Opt for a drier cheese, nothing too creamy, for a very enjoyable pairing.
Thanks so much to Eoin for the great review of a Lambic beer made right here in Brussels. I hope to have him visit again soon to share more on Belgium’s best beers!
Images via Wall Street Journal and Brouette de Bieres.