Cantillon: Cuvee Saint Gilloise (Belgium: Lambic: 5.5% ABV)

Visual: Clear pale yellow. Slightest haze to it. Thin white head.

Nose: Fluffy popcorn. Mild horse blankets. Elderberry. Tart. White wine to champagne. Crushed walnuts.

Body: Big. Tart. Lightly chalky. Light sulphur. Dry nuttiness. Rocks. Fluffy feel. Palma violets. Charred. Dried apricot.

Finish: Crushed peanuts. Light sulphur. Cold stones. Tart grapes. White wine. Pepper. Slight oily. Generally nutty.

Conclusion: Ok, this is both kind of normal, and also kind of unusual. Which may be one of the worst opening sentences I have ever written. What this means it is either a really interesting beer, or I am just really shit at doing these kind of notes.

It is a toss up between the two really.

Anyway, at it’s base this is a fairly standard Cantillon lambic – Dry, mouth puckering with white wine like notes and a horse blanket aroma. If you have had a Cantillon lambic you know the drill and know that it will be good. It is decent – not the best Cantillon I have encountered but the usual high quality you would expect from the brewery.

The hops are what make it different – more sulphurous, bitter and slightly oily – but more than that, what they mainly add is a very nutty character. I mean, I know lambics can be nutty anyway, but I’m fairly sure most of this is coming from the hops. Probably.

It’s a fluffier, mildly oilier, feeling lambic – a tad heavier mouthfeel. None of these are massively so , but gives a bit of grip and takes it away from the super dry lambic character that is more expected here. Like nearly all Cantillons, it is good, but the hop usage, while interesting, doesn’t feel like it makes the beer better, rather than just unusual.

It makes it feel darker, weightier and more bitter – I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy my time with it, especially the oily bitterness which was probably my favourite part of the more unusual character– but I didn’t feel like it made the beer better overall, just more bitter.

Still good, which, now I am more used Cantillons, I find most are – but t is a more expensive one, and doesn’t show any real extra quality for that extra cost.

Background: New Cantillon! Strange how, over the years, I’ve gone from being wary of Cantillion to adoring them and grabbing any release from them I have not tried before whenever I can. This one was grabbed at Zwanze Day, over at the Moor Tap Room. Zwanze day is a day when a few select places get to serve a one off beer made by Cantillon – a different one each year. This year it was a smoked lambic – very nice, the smoke was subtly used and gently built up over time rather than being a dominant punch. Was very much worth the trip. This beer however is a 2 year lambic that has been dry hopped with Hallertau. Had a bit of a problem getting the cork out of this one – it basically was crumbling on the way out, but I think I managed to keep it out of the beer itself. Went with Tool for music while drinking. Again. Yes I know. It is just such a good album.