The month’s gone by so quickly! Doesn’t seem so long ago that I was getting blotto with the lads from Kooinda after the pale ale tasting session.
Damn – now I have a good name for trivia – every time I see ‘lambic’, I naturally think of ‘iambic’. Our team should have called ourselves the ‘lambic pentameters’. To my surprise, The Local Taphouse was packed to the rafters.
A few notes about lambic, or sour beer, as I remember them (though you can look it up on wikipedia). Lambics are not brewed in hygienic environments. They need the bacteria around them to cultivate wild and funky yeasts. This is very unlike regular styles of beer where cleanliness is of the utmost importance. If you don’t keep your things clean, they infect the beer and ruin it. Infected homebrew is probably what gives homebrew a bad name!
They still use hops, but instead of fresh, fragrant hops, old ones are used. Hops generally tend to give beer their bitterness. The lambic brew also needs much longer boiling time.
I got in late so didn’t get my pre-Ale Stars tipple. We started off with a kriek.
Sweet and sour cherry goodness! It was pretty unpopular with the lads and they were very vocal about it, though one female Ale Star said it tasted like cough mixture. I can see that, as sometimes cherry has that effect – or at least, those dreadful sweets with super-fake cherry flavouring does. There were hints of almond and marzipan due to the cherry stones. Mmm. I’d personally love to have this with a slice of sour cherry cheesecake. It’s not a beer you can sit down and slug down – I dare say it hardly tasted of beer at all. It’s very desserty.
The second example of the lambic was my least favourite – a gueuze from Brasserie Cantillon. It was like drinking sour apple Warheads (anybody remember those?) but without the sweetness. I know, very odd. I found mine got very bitter towards the end, but apparently I was alone. This is a beer I would never have again, if I could avoid it.
So those were the lambics proper, then onto some Flanders ales, the next of which I found to be the most complex, and I mean positively ‘schizophrenic’ in flavour.
It smells of mahogany. It tasted of sour plummy fruit and tamarind. Others got rhubarb. At one stage I got earth. I think this was the one that got people the rowdiest. T said it reminded him of barleywine, and I agree. Our friend Mel couldn’t finish her glass, she didn’t fancy it at all.
The last one was Brouwerij Liefmans’ goudenband. Is it coincidental that the last one for tasting is the one I remember the least about? Hmm…perhaps it was stuffing my face on all that yummy pizza on offer to the Ale Stars.
Because I didn’t get my customary warm-up drink, Mel shouted me a glass of the Feral Fantapants. Simply hoptastic! Very, very strong but floral hops. I can’t believe how much my palate has developed because dammit I wanted more. Kicks James Squire’s ‘Hop Thief’ to the kerb! I wish you all could smell it (well, those of you that will appreciate it).
Pretty short report, but wanted to get something up not too far from the event happening. Warmest congrats to Guy at the Local on him and his wife expecting. Also, I swear, I was not cheating during trivia, I was Twittering. Turns out one of the hosts of Ale Stars, affectionately known as Shandy, is on Twitter too you can catch him at @shandyaleczar.
I really need to save up for my Ale Star membership! Anyone want to sponsor me? *grin*