Oude Quetsche Tilquin à l’Ancienne known simply as Quetsche or Quetsche Tilquin is a rare plum lambic brewed by Gueuzerie Tilquin in Rebecq-Rognon, Belgium is one of the most uncommon lambic beers. Not only is it produced in low quantity but as a plum lambic it has a unique place in the Belgian beer spectrum. Old Quetsche Tilquin is made from the fermentation of a minimum of 250gr of plums by liter of lambic to an ABV of 6.4%. In addition Quetsche is unfiltered, unpasteurized and refermented in the bottle like all lambics should be. Quetsche is one of the rarest beers to be available to beer lovers in Alberta with only 10 cases being imported this past week. I picked my bottle up at Kensington Wine Market where there was a limit of 1 bottle per customer rule.
Quetsch has a light golden amber body with a hazy appearance. The head is off white and puffs up while and pouring into my glass although it later settles down a bit. The nose is very musty and barnyard-esque with notes of hay and sawdust. A mild fruit aroma on the nose accompanies a mild tart and sour funk. Taking the first sip I note a mild floral flavor with a tart plum and citrus taste. The flavour profile has considerable less must and dust notes that the aroma with a sweeter flavour than most lambic beers. So far I note that Quetsche is incredibly well balanced and although not the sourest or funkiest of lambics a great brew. The plums are not exactly the star of the show here but give enough sweet fruit notes to not blow the balance out of proportion. The only drawback to this beer is that I can’t get any more.
In a century old warehouse a few blocks from the bustling Zuid Station (South Station) in Brussels, Belgium lives a true gem of lambic brewing. The small family owned and operated lambic brewery in the Anderlecht area has been in operation since 1900. At current date the Cantillon is in the capable hands of a fourth generation descendent of founder Paul Cantillon. Known best for its Champagne of Brussels – the Gueuze style lambic Cantillon also brews several other lambic styles including kriek or cherry lambic. During a recent visit to Belgium I was privileged enough to tour the brewery and try out 4 styles of lambic beer for a cost far, far cheaper than bottles cost at home. The brewery was incredibly unique and eyeopening with highlights being the walls upon walls stuffed with barrels and bottles of liquid gold. In addition since lambic involves wild yeast and open vats during fermentation, spiders are revered and protected in the brewing area as a defense against insects and other such things. Cantillon Kriek is a 5% beer produced by blending lambic beer with lambic beer brewed with cherries grown in Belgium.
Unlike many other Belgian beers that are corked, Cantillon beers use a bottle cap instead of a wire cage to hold the cork in place. Opening a bottle of Cantillon not only takes more time and patience but also more reverence for the liquid inside as you are opening a $25 bottle. Popping th ecork out and pouring Cantillon Kriek you notice the cherries instantly with a bright pinkish red body colour and a huge foamy pink head that fizzes itself out quickly. The head caps off at a thin tightly held layer of pink bubbles. The nose seems overbalanced by tart cherries and a big acetic sourness commonplace in Cantillon lambic beers. A bit of a sweetness comes through as I take a few more sniffs although the sourness complicates with a mild sour funkyness entering the mix. The first sip is sweet and tart with juicy cherry nectar bud subsides to a hairy funk and sourness. The balance is lacking despite the heavy cherry presence because of that traditional strong Cantillon sourness. The finish is sour and acidic with a puckering tartness. Overall the cherries are a bit lost in the mix but this is a great lambic with a ton of awesome funky sour flavours and aroma.
During my weekly stop at one of my favorite craft beer stores in Calgary last week, the owner who knows my love of interesting brews offered up a sample of a Berliner Weisse. The Berliner Weisse brewed by Montreal’s Dieu du Ciel! With raspberries is my first chance to try tgis rare style. The Berliner Weisse is a style of beer originating from you guessed it Berlin where it is the local specialty. Brewed with wheat malt and often fruit Berliner weisse have a moderate sourness akin to lambic beers from Belgium.
Pouring out a beautiful glimmering pinkish colour evidence of raspberries. A nice tuft of pink foam on top with a solid bubble density caps off a glorious appearance. The aroma a beautiful sourness blended with fresh picked raspberries and a crisp clean wheat malt. The nose is rather sublime although the sourness is unlike most other sour/wild beers Ive encountered. Sweet raspberries and fruity flavors in the mid palate show like in the aroma with a mild crisp finish. Not until my second or third sip does the sourness creep up and linger into the finish and aftertaste. A beautiful balance and a crisp sourness blend well together in creating a refreshing sour brew.
The Dieu du Ciel has the ability to brew amazing beers in rare and uncommon styles which begs the question… can they brew a bad beer?
Howe Sound Inn and Brewery is one of the most well known craft breweries in Western Canada. Located in Squamish, BC an hour north of Vancouver Howe Sound brews unique and tasty brews made with many local and odd ingredients. Super Jupiter is an American style IPA brewed with four types of Pacific NW hops.
Super Jupiter pours a bright golden orange with a massive fiamy beige head. The head is very sticky and leaves a few big blotches of foam on the glass. The first sniff has a rather potent pine and grapefruit heavy aroma. A mild toasted caramelized malt evident in the burgeoned orange appearance and mild sweetness. A mild flavour profile in the middle with a few sweet toasted malt notes and a hint of fresh squeezed grapefruits. The finish although potent with big grapefruit flavours and hop accents is rather subdued and mild. Overall this is an interesting beer that just falls a bit short of the line.
Alley Kat Brewing in Edmonton, AB recently released a pair of early spring seasonal brew; one in the 650 mL bomber format and the other in the 330 mL six pack format.
The Full Moon Belgian Pale Ale is a 5% ABV Pale Ale brewed with a traditional Ardennes yeast to give floral and estery aromatics. This seasonal brew is based on the flagship Full Moon Pale Ale a fresh and mildly hopped American Pale Ale. This pours out a light muddled amber body with glowing golden hues and a huge foamy head that settles to a thin head. The nose has mild and aromatic hops with light grassy and citrus aromas with a hint of noble hop spice. A flowery and lightly estery yeast aroma with a good blend overall. The taste profile is mild and well mannered with light caramelized malts up front, moderately citric hops with floral notes and the light yeast flavor. Nothing too crazy in the flavour overall, but a nice sessionable Belgian Pale Ale overall.
The Summer Squeeze is a Grapefruit Ale brewed to 5% ABV with grapefruit and grapefruit extract. The pour has a light pinkish tinge and a bright yellow golden body with a fizzy and short lived white head. The nose is the best attribute with the aroma of Pink Grapefruit soda with a light beery backbone. Taking a sip, a mild bready malt with a hint of sweetness with more grapefruit notes towards the finish. After a few more sips, I notice a very mild hop note with a very generic mild malty flavor. Overall, just a bland sweet grapefruit brew with a lack of character. But on a hot summer day, I would drive the hell out of this brew.