Showing posts with label sour. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sour. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

A Quart of Ale± #32. Moving on over to craft with Lambic and Geuze.

A Quart of Ale± #32

Moving on over to craft with Lambic and Geuze. 

Sour (part 2)

So, what is a sour? It is perhaps the style of beer most likely to put someone off with a single sip. But, according to Craft Beer for the People, “they are hugely rewarding for those who can get past the initial shock.” Think of lemons, sauerkraut, pickles and Citron Pressé (the French non-alcoholic thirst quencher) as that essential first step. “Once you gain a taste for them (sours)…. there’s no going back!” And I can tell you, hand on heart, that the conversion can come as early as the third sip. Stick with it and try some of beers below - you won’t be sorry! Link to Part 1 (which introduces a few Belgian and Irish examples) here

Lambic and Geuze (you will see different spellings) are a further step on the sour path but not necessarily sourer! According to The World Atlas of Beer, Lambic is the only style cluster over which Belgium can claim sole mastery. And mastery is apt as “making lambics requires feel and experience”. Boon is the largest producer of old lambic while Lindeman’s is the “most industrial of the authentic producers” and it well-known for its fruit beers particularly the Framboise below.

Lambics are raised in huge foudres (very large barrels) and it takes an experienced expert to know when the beer is properly aged in the oak. Quite often the brewery doesn’t have the space or the experts and so they contract out to those that do, who can tell when the lambic is ready for blending. Blends of old and young lambics are known as geuzes and they are, according to Craft Beer for the People, “stunning”. The process has its own yeast, technically Brettanomyces lambicus, known best as Bretts. The fermentation is wild - they leave the windows open - and is unpredictable.

This "wild" yeast is key here, the magic happening when it lands in the oak casks where the beer is fermenting. Because of this unique local process, "few flavours are shared with ale or lager" according to the Beer Pocket Book.

Of the four beers below, two are fruit lambics, where lots of good fruit is added to the brewing mix. The book Beer FAQ suggests that, “as the style can be off-putting…. the bulk of their commercial volume is from fruit-enhanced beers”. “The fruit masks a lot of the style’s funkier elements."

Boon “Kriek Boon” 2018 4%, 375ml bottle Bradley’s of Cork

This traditional Belgian Lambic fruit-beer is dark red in colour with a pinkish head (short-lived). A refreshing, almost fizzy, beer, pleasantly aromatic and has flavours of fresh cherries, slightly sweet and full-bodied. 

It is brewed according to the traditional lambic style of spontaneous fermentation. Only fresh cherries (25%) are used. Keep out of the light and serve at 4 degrees.

They say: Kriek Boon is a spontaneous fermentation beer, prepared from old and young Lambic that matures in oak barrels. 250 g cherries per litre are added to Kriek Boon. The authenticity is guaranteed by the use of only real cherries from Galicia. A refreshing and tasty celebration during summer days, on the terrace or at the barbecue.

Lindeman’s Framboise 2.5%, 35.5 cl bottle via Bradley’s

Thirty per cent raspberry juice has been added to this lambic beer and the resulting colour is a mid-ruby with a dark pink foamy “head”. And yes, raspberries do feature in the flavours.  There is also a fruity aroma. All in all, with its mini abv of 2.5%, this is  lovely drink, fruity and slightly fizzy. Lindeman’s Framboise can be used in cooking and in cocktails but as a drink be sure and serve it cold, at 2-3 degrees centigrade. Serve it as an aperitif or pair with Endive salad and desserts such as Chocolate fondant cake, cheesecake, raspberries, ice cream. 

Being the middle of winter, I didn’t have fresh raspberries handy but did have the fantastic Raspberry sorbet by Yum Gelato plus some frozen loganberries (from the garden via the freezer). Not too sure that it was that much of a match but I certainly enjoyed sipping the beer on its own and could image pairing with garden berries and salads in the summertime.

Boon Geuze “Mariage Parfait” 2015 8%, 375ml bottle Bradley’s

Brewed in Lembeek, the village that gave Lambic its name, this Mariage Parfait comes in a cloudy gold, countless micro-bubbles rising to the white frothy head that lingers for a while. Beautiful rounded fruit in the complex aromas and that carries through to the palate where there is no shortage of fruit flavour, background tartiness and warming mouthfeel. 

Boon Geuze Mariage Parfait is unsweetened, unfiltered and unpasteurised and, tart and funky, is refreshing, distinctive and lingering. Absolutely delicious. Serve with with magret of duck, roast goose, seared foie gras, foie gras terrine, gamey pâtés, aged goat cheeses.

Geuze is made by blending young (1-year-old) and old (2- to 3-year-old) lambics, which is bottled for a second fermentation. Because the young lambics are not fully fermented, the blended beer contains fermentable sugars, which allow that second fermentation to occur.

Oude Geuze Boon L’Ancienne 2016/17 7.00%, 375ml bottle via Bradley’s

This Lambic has a mid-gold colour, shoals of bubbles racing towards the top; head is big  and soon fades to a thin disk. Sour is present in the aromas. And on the palate too of course but, with touches of citrus and oak amidst the fruit and spice, all’s in harmony, and this refreshing beer goes on to a pleasant lingering finish.

Oude Geuze Boon is regarded as one of the finest examples of the traditional 100% spontaneous fermentation Lambic style. This Lambic beer is aged for 1, 2 or 3 years in oak casks. The blend, a mild average 18 month old Lambic (unsweetened, unfiltered, unpasteurized) is refermented in the bottle and can be stored for up to 20 years.


Pour gently at 12°C/52°F

Keep the bottles cool and in an upward position

Monday, November 16, 2020

A Quart of Ale± #21 Moving on over to craft. Sour.

A Quart of Ale± #21

Moving on over to craft.  


So, what is a sour? It is perhaps the style of beer most likely to put someone off with a single sip. But, according to Craft Beer for the People, “they are hugely rewarding for those who can get past the initial shock.” Think of lemons, sauerkraut, pickles and Citron Pressé (the French non-alcoholic thirst quencher) as that essential first step. “Once you gain a taste for them (sours)…. there’s no going back!” And I can tell you, hand on heart, that the conversion can come as early as the third sip. Stick with it and try some of the beers below - you won’t be sorry!

Crooked Stave “Sour Rosé” 4.5%, 355ml can Bradley’s of Cork

Colour is a deep pink that in some lighting might pass for orange; it is cloudy, with lots of bubbles rising; the head doesn't hang about. Fruit plus yeast notes in the aromas. Refreshing and effervescent on the palate, this is the most delicious sour, ideal for a summer’s day in the garden with a salad at hand, perhaps one with fish. Yet, as they suggest, it’s probably perfect for all seasons. Just a few sips in and I’m delighted with this one which is going to be hard to top in this section. Put it on your short list.

The American brewery says: Showcasing bright effervescent characteristics, Sour Rosé is the perfect sour beer for all seasons and occasions. Unfiltered and naturally wild, we package each can with a small amount of yeast to maintain maximum freshness for wherever life’s adventures take you.

Beer Specs

  • Serving Temperature: 8-12 degrees
  • Alc/Vol: 4.5%
  • Cultured in Yeast


Cheese, Jasper Hill Cellars Harbison with Washed-rind;
Chicken Liver Mouse & Pancetta;
Ceviche with Raw Fish and Shrimp, Aji, Onion, Salt and Cilantro, all Cured in Citrus Juice

Saltimbocca with Veal lined Prosciutto & Basil

Kinnegar “Olan’s Tart” Apple Sour 5.0%, 440ml can Bradley’s of Cork

This unfiltered, naturally carbonated Apple sour from Donegal’s Kinnegar Brewery looks a little like a cloudy pale apple juice once the short-lived head vanishes. I was expecting more of a crab apple but, while certainly sour,  this, one of the better Irish sours, is very drinkable indeed, quite refreshing too.

The style is “Kettle sour with apple” and it tastes clean and crisp. It is  labelled as ”a year-round reminder of summer” and is “fermented with freshly pressed apple juice from our friends at Dan Kellys Cider.”

They say: A bunch of rabbits and their mates having the craic and making good beer Yep, that's pretty much our branding in a nutshell. A big thanks to one of our twitter fans for putting it so simply and succinctly. Nothing in life is however quite that simple…..

Yellow Belly Castaway Passionfruit Sour 4.2%, 440ml can, Bradley’s

Yellow Belly like their sours, so be prepared!

Cloudy light amber is the colour. Not so much fruit in the aromas; yeast seems to be the main element. Once it reaches the palate though, the face puckers as promised and the Belgian malts, aided by the passionfruit sweetness, begin to calm it all down a bit. Just a little bit! This is after all a sour, and a pretty good one at that. Quite a thirst-quencher!

They say: The perfect sour. Our house Berliner Weisse recipe (soured with our, continuously evolving, barrel stored lactobacillus culture) conditioned on a small tropical islands worth of passionfruit. Expect a lovely fruity aroma, more fruit on the tongue, and even more fruit on the finish all rounded with a gentle acidity from the souring process. Brewed with only the finest Belgian malts and our House Lactobacillus Culture under the careful watch of our Head Brewer, Declan Nixon.


It is a seasonal beer – mostly found during the Summer months, but from time to time as a limited release. It is unfiltered and not pasteurised.

All the artwork you see across their Tap Badges and Cans features their fictional hero ‘YellowBelly’. He’s the “Dr. Who” of Beer; travelling through time and space to find new recipes, discover ingredients and to fight the bad guys trying to destroy good beer. Creative Director, Paul Reck, creates all the artwork and is the mastermind behind the ‘YellowBelly Tales’ Comic Book Series, which can read for free on the site.

Lervig “Passion Tang” 7%, 330ml can Bradley’s of Cork

The eye-catching can pours an orange and gold colour while this Norwegian sour holds its head just for a few seconds. Mainly fruity aromas. And the Passionfruit is your main man on the tangy palate. Perhaps not as sour as some or perhaps I’m getting used to the style. Either way, not quite on the same level as the Crooked Stave. Easy enough to forget, with all that Passionfruit, that this is 7% abv.

Lervig is an independently owned and operated craft brewery located in Stavanger, Norway. They produce a wide range of beers from easy-drinking pilsners and pale ales to bold and complex barrel-aged stouts, barley wines, and sours.

They say: We fermented an oat rich sour ale with our house ale yeast, then add brettanomyces trois in the secondary fermentation along with passion fruit. Grains of paradise were also into the mix, giving this beer a tropical, floral yet woody character. This beer bridges with those who don’t really like beer to craft beer.

Malts: Pale, Munich, Caramalt.

Hops: Ella, Victoria Secret.

Yeast: American Ale, Brettanomyces

Additive: Grains of Paradise.

Passionfruit extract also listed in ingredients.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Taste of the Week. Torc's Raspberry & Vanilla Sour

Taste of the Week
Torc Brewing Raspberry & Vanilla Sour, 4%, Bradley’s of North Main Street exclusive.

What is a sour beer? Don’t want to overcomplicate this and put you off. Think of a very dry cider or that gripping Basque wine Txakoli and you won't be a million miles away. Just be aware that in sours, as in ales and lagers, you’ll have quite a range. So you’ll have to try for yourself and this is a good one to start with.

I couldn't find an entry for sour in Slainte (The complete guide to Irish craft beer and cider).Perhaps they weren't any Irish sours when the book was published two years ago. Now there are quite a few. Yellow Belly and Eight Degrees had examples at the recent beer fest in the Cork City Hall. Perhaps the most high profile recent example for me was the Rodenbach at the Franciscan Well October Beer fest. By the way, people looking for cider at the festival, were offered this and there was a great reaction to it.

And this limited edition Torc is the newest Irish on the sour scene. While waiting for the revised edition of Slainte, I checked Wikipedia. Sour beer, they say, is beer which has an intentionally acidic, tart, or sour taste. The most common styles are Belgian lambics, gueuze and Flanders Red Ale, gose too.

This sour, by Killarney based Torc, is a collaboration with Bradley’s and is brewed with fresh raspberries and vanilla pods. The fruit, of course, is there to give a balance plus flavour.

The beer is tart, no doubt, yet not that mouth-puckering tart. It is refreshingly fruity, yet not overly so. I must admit I was well into the conversation with this well balanced cloudy beer before coming round to the idea that we could be friends! Well worth a try for yourself.