Thursday, September 11, 2014

We share 'round these parts: Lambic via Brouwerij-Chugach

The entrance to Brouwerij-Chugach.
The other week I had the pleasure of enjoying a few of Marshall's sour beers , and to complete the trifecta on The Yeast Bay beta testers tastings I was granted the opportunity to try some Lambic brewed by Brian from brouwerij-chugach.com. Brian was actually the one who started our little cross country beer sharing thing here. He reached out to Marshall and I and said he would be sending us some bottles of his beautiful Lambic. Who in their right mind would not be excited about an email like that, come on.

Brian and I share a lot of similar views on Farmhouse brewing and the sense of place you get from the house character of someones mixed fermentation beers, and food. Since Nick "introduced" us we chat regularly about all things beer and baking, bouncing ideas off of each other etc. Brian's site is new but already has a wealth of information on mixed culture fermentation practices and bread/pizza baking. He has become a mentor of sorts for me when it comes to baking bread and pizza, I went from making some mediocre stuff to blowing my own mind, he even sent me some of his leaven to get me going.

But we are here for the Lambic, and it comes from his rustic cellar from which , I imagine, many a bug thrive. Brian adheres to most traditional methods of wort production/and sour beer aging, turbid mashing, aged hops, and barrels upon barrels are used to create this LambicI would love to visit and get a tour, but unfortunately its quite a drive to Maine from Philadelphia. Who knows, maybe I will get a chance to try some of these commercially some day :) But for now I am perfectly happy receiving bottles of Lambiek Zomer in unlabeled bottles, you should be jealous.

Lambiek Zomer

Appearance: A brilliantly clear straw yellow color, very minimal carbonation as is appropriate for an unblended Lambic. Thin white head that dissipates pretty quickly.

Aroma: More fruit than funk, the funkiness is very subdued, I get a fair amount of stone fruit with a hint of lemon, some toasted malt aromas even. 
Picture courtesy of Brouwerij-chugach.com, because I
neglected to snap a photo that did this beer justice.

Flavor: Nicely tart, but not mouth puckeringly sour. There is a nice sweetness that cuts the sourness just as it starts to pucker, a good balance of fruit and sourness going here. 

Overall: This is a very well balanced unblended Lambic, its actually pretty impressive how balanced it is with it being, obviously, unblended. It can be difficult to get those bugs to do what you want, not saying that balance is what Brian was going for but its a difficult thing to nail on these beers, thats just the nature of mixed fermentation. 

It is certainly to style as far as unblended Lambic is concerned, I've only ever had one commercially and it was at Brasserie Cantillon pulled right from the barrel. Brian's version is much more fruit forward than that of Cantillon where the funkiness was more dominant, which I am sure varies barrel to barrel. This stands alone very well for me though, but would be a great blending component as well. Its not overly sour (which I've had issues with) although some sips I took I did want a little more pucker I think that the balance is what makes this pretty special. Great stuff Brian.

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