Van Honsebrouck: St.Louis: Gueuze Fond Tradition (Belgium: Lambic Gueuze: 5% ABV)

Visual: Ruddy amber. Moderate head made up of small off white bubbles. Small bubbled carbonation as well.

Nose: Tart apples. Dry white wine. Blankets. Lemon sherbet.

Body: Fruit acidity. Cloudy apple juice. Jiff lemon. Sour but not heavily so. Slightly drying. Sherbet and meringue. Cream.

Finish: Squeezed lemon on scampi. Meringue.

Conclusion: This is something a bit different in the lambic world. The dryness and sourness of the spontaneous fermentation is matched by meringue sweetness and a mix of tart apples and lemon. It feels thicker than usual as well, the lambic equivalent of cloudy fruit juice in its texture. All this makes it bloody refreshing on a hot summers day.

The difference this makes to the beer is exceptional. Thicker texture makes for a mouthfeel closer to a traditional beer without losing that lambic teeth drying nature. The flavours are more subtle. There are dry wine touches, but the mellowness allows the lemon freshness and tart apple to really express itself.

The distinct sweetness is an odd one. There are meringue like elements, and almost sweet cream touches. It is a sharp departure from expectations, and fans of traditional Gueuze may find it out of place. Then again, as explained in the background section. Traditional lambic fans may not be drinking this due to its region of creation.

As a summer session drink this is great. The flavours suit chilling well and are not much impacted. As an induction to lambics it takes the edge off without the sugary sweetness of some of the mainstream bunch. For seasoned veterans of the lambic this is a nicely different interpretation.
All in all a lovely innovation.

Background: When is a lambic not a lambic? Well according to “100 Belgium beers To Try Before You Die” a lambic can technically only be from the region of Brussels and Payottenland.   This makes this beer a bit of a wild child as it does not originate from those areas. On the other hand I’ve been drinking lambic style beers from say, Denmark, so that makes no never mind to me. Drank quite chilled at the tail end of a too warm day. Reading the books review after drinking the beer I note they refer to a butterscotch element to the finish, which while I had not identified does seem very relevant.