March 7, 2013 by 250 Beers
A couple of weeks ago I sat down one evening after the little ‘uns had hit the hay and pondered over what beer to have.
My beer fridge was pretty well stocked and, for no real reason, I opted to take the plunge and try a type of beer that would be totally new to me. I decided to lose my lambic virginity with a bottle of Timmermans Tradition Gueuze.
Whoever is distributing this stuff around Brisbane is doing a fine job as it seems to be appearing in every craft bottle shop that I’ve been to lately. It’s also started to pop up in a few eateries too. In fact, on the very same evening that I was drinking this bottle I started to read this by fellow Brisbane blogger ‘The Westbender’. Strange coincidence huh?!
Prior to my Timmermans I can honestly say that there is one main factor that’s kept me away from lambics or ‘sours’ before and that is the fear of tasting something shit. The word ‘sour’ brings back childhood memories of nasty medicines and the face that kids pulled whilst sucking on a ripe lemon.
Let me tell you that I my first impression of this beer was that it was thirst quenchingly crisp and it didn’t dry my face out like I was expecting it to. And it was far from being shit.
It was super-fizzy and the aftertaste was slightly sour but nothing like you’d think if you’ve never ventured into Lambicville.
Many of you reading this will know darn well what a lambic is. For those of you that don’t know, I’ll try to explain and I’ll do my best to keep it simple.
A lambic is a unique style of beer brewed in a Belgian region south-west of Brussels called Pajottenland*. Lambic is mainly consumed after refermentation.
Most brews are fermented carefully and strictly with yeast. However, lambics are exposed to bacteria and wild yeasts native only to the region. This causes a spontaneous fermentation. It is this natural reaction that gives lambic beers the ‘sour’ taste.
Different types of lambics include:
Now, my exposure to Gueuze prompted me to find out that a Gueuze is in fact a bottled blend of old and new lambics. ‘Young‘ being approximately one year old and ‘old‘ being up to three years old. Because the baby lambics aren’t yet fully fermented, and because the mix contains fermentable sugars, a secondary fermentation (and carbonation) occurs after bottling.
There are many theories surrounding where the word ‘Gueuze’ (pronounced ‘gooze’ by an ex-Belgian colleague which I thought was rather apt as it rhymes with ‘booze’!). My favourite theory is that is comes from the Norman word for wheat which is, coincidentally, ‘gueuze’.
Anyway, Timmermans Tradition Gueuze…
I loved it. It opened my eyes to a different aspect of beer that I’d never seen before. I’d drink lambic beer again and I’ll be on the look out for others including those from the Cantillon Brewery (Brussels). Upon researching this post I came across many lambic fans that heaped praise on Cantillon and I’m intrigued.
Oh, and I don’t often go by the name of Mary.
*Bet you didn’t know that Pajottenland, when translated into Spanish, can mean ‘Wankland’ because ‘Paja’ (as a slang term) can be taken as ‘masturbate’ in Spain. Brilliant!