I’m sure many of you have enjoyed a fruit Lambic at one time or another. I’m curious to know how many of you know or have heard of a Gueuze. A brief lesson in beer. Lambic is still brewed as they did hundreds of years ago, the beer then spends some time in a coolship where it ferments. These coolships are large shallow pans in rooms that are open to the outside. Microflora invades the room and inoculates the beer, causing it to ferment naturally from wild yeast in the air. Once the beer begins fermentation it is then moved to large wooden barrels where it ages for years. The beer either stays as it is to age or all natural whole fruit is added to ferment as well. The former becomes Gueuze by blending two Lambics of differing ages. Pure Lambic is not sold in the US, only a blend of young and old.

On to the beer…
Lindemans Gueuze is a pretty common gueuze to be find, it is widely distributed across the country. Other notable producers of Gueuze would be Brasserie Boons and Cantillion, which is a bit harder to come by. Because these beers are naturally fermented in open vessels, there are flavors imparted in these beers like no other. First inspection of the beer shows a normal appearance with a nice thick, creamy head standing proud atop a rich amber colored beer. This is all the further the normalcy takes us with this beer. The aroma reveals a sourness and lots of peppery notes which are the product of the natural yeast. These aromas are also lead into the flavor of the beer which has a very sour taste, with a sharp pepperiness or acidity. Malt flavor is hard to notice in a Gueuze because of these strong unique flavors. It is quite an interesting beer and honestly not an easy one to describe.

What’s to eat….
I had a tough time pairing this beer, due to all the unique flavors it possesses. But, pretty much anything with a strong or unique flavor will mingle nicely with Stilton Cheese. Stilton is a one heck of a strong cheese. It is a member of the Bleu family of cheeses and possesses a lot of earthy notes, sourness and zing. All of these characteristics make it perfect for the Gueuze. The earthy tones of each line right up together, while the sourness of the beer tames the zing of the cheese. The carbonation, as always, cleanses the palate of the heavy flavors. There is a lot of power in the flavors of this pairing, making it one of the most interesting ones I’ve done to date.

beer + food = Barleydine


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