Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mega Gueuze Tasting


I don't usually post about commercial beers, but last week my friend Dyan picked up every gueuze he could find at State Line Liquors and brought them over to my place for a tasting. Nathan chipped in a few he had carried back from a trip to Belgium and Dan and Devin joined in.

The 3 Fonteinen Oude Gueuze stole the show for me (multi-layered funk, complexity, and balance), but the Oud Beersel (bright acidity), and Cantillon Lou Pepe (big oak character) were right up there. The biggest disappointment was the Cantillon Classic, it just didn't have the sour punch that I remembered from having drank it on its own. The Chapeau and the Timmermans were the only two I hadn't had before, both were better than I expected with the Chapeau being very cellar like and the Timmermans having not quite enough complexity to compete.

I was surprised at just how big the range of flavors was between these beers, it is something I didn't quite grasp having the beers on their own. After the first few beers our palates got used to the acidity so that may be why some of the beers (like the Cantillon) didn't taste as sour as I remembered them. The growler of Russian River Sanctification tasted mildly tart at first (not nearly as sour as as bottles from previous releases, apparently Vinnie backed down on the Pedio/Lacto this time because he thought he had too many sours on tap at the pub), but when we went to finish it off after the tasting it almost tasted like a pale ale (big citrus character and no sourness).

It is a shame I didn't have time to make up some starter wort to capture all the bugs from these beers, but as it is I don't have plans to brew another sour for a couple months anyway.

If you have a couple willing friends (and can get your hands on a few gueuzes) I would suggest doing something similar, it was probably the best $23 I have spent on an evening of drinking recently.

Has anyone else tried something similar? I'd be interested to hear how their results compared.

10 comments:

Ryan_PA said...

While I cannot say I have ever done a tasting lineup with a similar scale, I can say that living near State Line has provided me with some great 1 man mini tastings. I am assuming the RR growler was brought back from the brewery, and not available around these parts, correct.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Yeah, the RR was fresh off a FedEx truck, hopefully they'll have wider distribution at some point.

ricky (ottovon) said...

sounds like an awesome tasting. i had a sour tasting at my house back in may. we got to sample: monks cafe, jolly pumpkin esBam, boulevard saison brett, avery brabant, RR temptation( i forget what year, it was aged a few years i know that though), cantillon iris, deschutes dissident, avery la folie, RR consecration, Cantillon gueze, cuvee de castleton (i forget what year, i think '06). i of course just took a picture of all the bottles, and didnt think to write the years down. all the RR was the current batch before this new release. the cantillons were '06 i think. the dissident and la folie were from last year.

it was a great tasting. i grilled up some scallops at one point to give the palates a little break and they went well with the acidity of the sours actually.

ricky (ottovon) said...

i meant new belgium la folie... obviously

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Sounds like an awesome tasting. Our little group of sour heads is trying to put a tasting like that (with a wider variety of sours) together for some time this fall, should be interesting.

Tim said...

Sounds fun but I don't think I could ever pull something like that sort of tasting. My friends just aren't beer geeks. Which is fine with me as I'm not geeky anyway.

Brad said...

Hats off to you gentlemen. I have some sours squirreled away that perhaps could use an event like this to draw them out.

Too bad you couldn't gather up all the lees and make a beer from that blend. It would definitely be interesting!

Honkymagic said...

If you need another face / taster / beer bringer (homebrew and commercial) for a fall tasting, please let me know...

Aaron_ said...

3 Fonteinen steals the show most of the time for me as well. I note you didn't have any boon in your lineup, which surpised me, since it's a bit cheaper and more widespread (well, at least it was in NorCal). I think their Oude Kriek is very worthwhile.

The lambic I liked best from several days spent in Payottenland was actually from De Cam (sp?) - a blender, not a brewer. But I've never had any luck finding their bottles in the US of A.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I was lucky enough to get to try a bottle of the De Cam gueuze that Nathan brought back from his trip, I agree that it was excellent (sadly he didn't have any bottles left for this tasting). Sadly they don't export to America (with the prices we pay for lambic I have no idea why they don't though).

Related Posts with Thumbnails