Archive for the ‘Wild Beer’ Category

Sour Week: Hanssens Oudbeitje

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

Among the most unique authentic fruit lambics is Oudbeitje. This strawberry lambic is brewed by Hanssens Artisanaal in Dworp, Belgium. Some of the oldest bottles I have tried taste wonderfully delicate and balanced with a subdued fruit flavor. This bottle (I got it at the Red Monk in Des Moines) was a bit more sharply sour.

The Oudbeitje pours a brilliant salmon. It is usually not too carbonated but this bottle is quite still (loose cork?). There is no head, just a few bubbles around the glass. A pungent barnyard aroma dominates, with a hidden strawberry character and hints of bubble gum and cattiness.

The taste is mouth-puckeringly sour. Very funky flavors come out: horse blanket and balsamic vinegar. There is also a definite strawberry taste. The sour fades into a long lingering tart.

+/-Hanssens Oudbeitje

3.2 (2-6-7-3-14)

Sour Week: Liefmans Frambozen Bier

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

From Brouwerij Liefmans in Oudenaarde, I’m having a bottle of Frambozen Bier.Liefmans Frambozen Bier The cork says this raspberry beer was bottled in 2004. Liefmans Frambozen is not a lambic. It, like other Flanders fruit beers, is made from a sour brown aged on raspberries.

The Frambozen Bier pours a hazy ruddy caramel. It has some creamy tan head but that dies relatively quickly. The nose is assertive and strong with raspberries. A bit of cherry and some cotton candy is present as well. If an odor can be syrupy then this one is. A light tart aroma and balsamic vinegar add complexity.

The taste is at first a rich tart fruitiness, much like a jam. The raspberries soon give way to a hearty balsamic sour. This fades to a slightly astringent malt character with notes of raspberry as well as kiwi and mango. There is a lingering sweet and sour character with hints of raspberry.

+Liefmans Frambozen Bier

3.8 (3-7-8-4-16)

Sour Week: Berliner Weisse

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Bayerischer Bahnhof Berliner Style WeisseBecause of the delicate citric character and low alcohol content, Berliner weisse is the only sour beer that is best fresh. Unfortunately, I can’t get a hold of fresh Berliner weisse (at the moment at least), so I’ll have to put up with what I found on the shelf. Don’t fret, it ages well too. I don’t have any woodruff syrup so I’ll be tasting these straight.

First off I’ll have Berliner Style Weisse from Bayerischer Bahnhof in Leipzig, Germany, producers of another northern German sour style, gose.

The Berliner Style Weisse pours a very pale straw color, quite hazy, with a bit of creamy white head. The nose is very light. Somewhat tart, there is a citric character of lemons and grapefruit as well as a hint of flowery aroma.

The taste is very delicate as well. The predominant flavor is lemon, but not so sour: much like a Meyer lemon. Wheat notes, tart, and somewhat sweet. There is also a lingering light bitterness. Lightly carbonated.

Next up is 1809. This is brewed by Dr. Fritz Briem, Technology Director of (my alma mater) Doemens Academy. It is my understanding that it is produced at Brauerei Weihenstephan, widely considered the oldest operating brewery in the world.1809 1809 is named for the year in which Napoleon’s troops are supposed to have named Berliner weisse the “Champagne of the North”.

The 1809 pours an opal straw that is not quite as pale as the Berliner Style. The head, a bit thicker and creamier, lasts a while but eventually fades to nothing. The nose is very delicate, milder even than the Bayerischer. I can barely detect whiffs of lemon, lime, and apple blossom. As it opens up wheat malt notes comes out.

The taste as well is milder than the above. A gentle and aimless tart gives way to an ethereal wheat flavor, backed up by a bit of green apple and cider. This cidery character and a hint of sweetness linger, but the 1809 is very effervescent so it is quite refreshing.

+Bayerischer Bahnhof Berliner Style Weisse

3.4 (3-7-7-3-14)

+1809

3.4 (4-6-6-4-14)

Sour Week: Cantillon Iris

Monday, August 10th, 2009

To kick things off I’m having a bottle of Iris from the Brussels brewery-museum Cantillon. This is a spontaneously fermented beer in the style of lambic. However it is not a lambic because it uses fresh hops (lambic uses aged hops to avoid hop bitterness and aroma) and all barley malt (lambic uses a good percentage of unmalted wheat).Cantillon Iris Iris is dry hopped just before bottling as well. It is for these reasons brewer Jean-Pierre Van Roy calls it his ‘extreme’ beer. I brought this bottle (brewed 2005, bottled 22 March 2007) back from my visit to the Cantillon brewery, and it’s the last one I have from there.

As soon as I popped the cap the cork started inching its way out of the bottle. The pour formed a generous head for such a still beer, proof of the high levels of proteins and tannins present; however, without lively carbonation it was doomed to fall quickly. Iris is a wonderfully hazy goldenrod with head the color of cream. The nose is quite strong: very fruity, with a persistent earthiness and notes of barnyard. The fruit is a little citric with some apple, and the barnyard is hay and horse blanket. A clean and spicy noble hop aroma abounds (I won’t say that again for a week). This complexity makes me wonder why there aren’t more hoppy sours. As a rule I don’t give perfect scores but this nose is worth ten points.

The taste is at once tart and bitter, with hints of fruit, all in all reminding me of rhubarb. The tip of my tongue is almost knocked out, but the intensity quickly subsides. There are but moments of spicy and herbal hop flavor before the barn doors open. A collection of horse and goat finds the middle and back of my tongue. Some malt character is present. There is just a hint of sweetness, perhaps from the fruit flavor.

++Cantillon Iris

4.5 (4-10-8-4-19)