Cantillon Cuvée Saint-Gilloise 2010

In early June as I travelled through Belgium I made a stop in Brussels the mostly French speaking city in Belgium. The second day I was there I made my way to the legendary Belgian lambic brewer Cantillon located only a few short blocks from Zuidstation. The self guided tour was an eye-opener into the traditional way of brewing gueuze and lambic style beers. After the tour a sample of unblended young gueuze as well as another beer were given. Arriving back home in Calgary I decided it might be ripe time to open some of the bottles of Cantillon aging in my cellar. Cuvée Saint-Gilloise is a Gueuze style created by using only a single vintage of two year old lambic that is dry hopped with aged hops for three weeks with Styrian Golding hops. Unlike most other gueuze available, Cuvée Saint-Gilloise is not a blend of two or more vintaged lambics. This bottle of Cuvée Saint-Gilloise was bottled in 2010 and personally aged for 2 years prior to today.

Cuvée Saint-Gilloise pours a bright glowing orange colour with a very short lived pure white head and a general haziness in the body. The appearance is beautiful overall with the orange colour coming fromthe significant dry hopping. The aroma has a mild peppery and spicy hop aroma with a bone dry almost Champagne like aroma with tons of hop nuances. A light barnyard funk pervades the aroma with noted tart lemon fruitiness and acetic sourness. Although I have had many different gueuze the aroma always surprises me with its acidic backbone and tart, dry notes. The first sip I take has an intense citrus fruit to the point of puckering tartness until a mild oaky creaminess settles the citric flavour down a bit. The finish is crackingly dry with a mild bitterness from aged Golding hops with nice solid sourness. Funky fruits and barnyard yeasty esters are rather subtle as the acetic acid, dry hops and citrus fruits are much more abashing on the palate. Overall a nicely soured, complex Gueuze with a creaminess that balances out the dry, acidic flavour profile.

Grade: 96/100

Price: $24.95

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3 Fonteinen Oude Geuze

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This June as I finally graduate from University I plan to traverse Europe as many bohemian University students do. With one exception, I am spending time in Brussels and Brugges with an attempt to learn more of the Belgian beer culture. So for the past month or so I have delved into the Champagne of Brussels, the Geuze, a style of beer I must admit I am a novice of. Geuze is a style of lambic accomplished by blending old and young lambics beers into a complex mixture of sourness and musty funk. 3 Fonteinen Oude Geuze of Beersel, Belgium is a 6% traditional Geuze.

A true Geuze – a blend of 1, 2, and 3 year-old lambic, unfiltered and unpasteurized, and aged in the bottle for at least a year after blending. Refermentation in the bottle gives this Geuze its famous champagne-like spritziness. The lambic that goes into it is brewed only with 60% barley malt, 40% unmalted wheat, aged hops, and water, spontaneously fermented by wild yeasts, and matured in oak casks.

Unwinding the cage, the cork exploded into my hand after barely two turns of the wire. A small amount of beige foam flowed slowly out of the bottle as I tried to grab my glass. Pouring out a bright golden with a sparkle of bright orange amidst the strong carbonation. The head finished with a massive two inches of a porous yellow tinge that died quickly into a dense cap. The aroma is complex yet subtle with mild musty and barnyard aromas and a noted sourness and acetic note. Beautiful light fruity and dry hop aromas blend well with the vinegar sour notes. The flavour is well combined and blended with mild funk and must notes accompanying the sourness properly. Solid fruity and dry grassy hops make up the crackingly dry finish and mildly bitter backbone. The blend of old and young lambic shows off here with the great balance of old and young characteristics. A refreshing and subtle yet intense brew leaves you pondering.

Grade: 90/100       Price: $10.49