From the Branch to the Barrel
Gueuze lambic, fruit lambic, faro. Lambic beers are perhaps the most individualistic style of beer in the world. Lambics are produced in tiny quantities immediately south of the Belgian capital, Brussels. Lambic brewers use native wild yeasts in the open-air fermentation process to produce these specialties. This unusual fermentation, in conjunction with extended aging in oak barrels, imparts a unique vinous character with a refreshing sourness and astonishing complexity. Lambics labeled as gueuze are a blend of young and old beers. Such blending results in a sharp champagne-like effervescence and tart, toasty flavors. Those labeled as faro have had sugar, caramel or molasses added in order to impart a note of sweetness. Lambic beers, however, are more often seen in the United States when they have been flavored with fruits. Kriek (cherry) and framboise (raspberry) are the most popular and traditional fruits employed. Other exotic fruits are widely used in juice form in the more commercial examples of lambic beer, much to the consternation of purist connoisseurs.
Interpreting the 100-point Scale
Consumers can translate the point score to the following quality bands:
|Less than 80
- = Brewpub
- ABV = Alcohol by volume
- Date denotes the date on which the beer was tasted
84 Samuel Adams Cranberry Lambic, The Boston Beer Co. (MA). 5.9% ABV (8/08)
Buttery, melted brown sugar on pumpernickel toast and faint berry jam aromas follow through on a round entry to a fruity-yet-dry medium-to-full body with yeasty caramel cookie dough and cranberry sauce accents. Finishes with a quick, tart buttery cranberry caramel sauce fade.
93 Cuvée Renée Gueuze Lambic, Brouwerij Lindemans (Belgium). (8/07)
Rich, old gold color. Yeasty sourdough, salty toasted nut, baked lemon and barnyard aromas. A rich, frothy entry leads to a vinous, dry medium-full body of tart lemon rind, nuts, wheat toast and muddy hay flavors. Finishes with a long, tart citrus rind and mineral fade. Very well structured, with laser-like acidity for the table. Serve with bloomy triple cream cheeses.