Vandenbroek: Brut Nebbiolo (Netherlands: Fruit lambic: 6.8% ABV)

Visual: Reddened orange to a rose wine, or onion skin. Lots of tiny bubbled carbonation. Thin dash of a white head.

Nose: Dry white grapes. Cake sponge. Spicy red wine. Chill seeds and paprika. Vanilla touch. Wet oak. Strawberry as it warms. Menthol. Red onions touch.

Body: Dry white wine front. Wet oak. Mashed cherries. Mossy dark touch. Charring. Light chalk. Tart grapes. Strawberry. Vanilla yogurt. Red onion.

Finish: Black cherry yogurt. Dry white wine. Black pepper. Wet oak. Red onion. Mashed cherries. Lemon curd.

Conclusion: While not up to the standards of the amazing Watergeus that the same brewery turns out, this is still another rewarding and complex lambic from Vandenbroek.

I really have to stop summing stuff up in the first line, I need to give you lot a reason to read further.

On the eye this reminds me of the much praised Cantillon: Rose De Gambrinus, even though the load out of fruit used to make it is very different. Admittedly I am saying that from memory, so feel free to point out if I am full of shit. It had that reddened kind of onion skin to rose wine colour that really catches the eye and gives a great first impression.

The aroma is fairly standard dry lambic, though with a bit more spiciness in this take. Warming lets more notes slowly come out, giving a more rounded character.

The body is where the main play comes out. It is very dry white wine feeling. The darker fruit seems to wait and subtly come out in sweeter ways in the middle of the beer. The fruit is rich, with cherry to black cherry like notes coming out, and strawberry hints around the edges. There are tart grape notes, but they work into the main body of the dry lambic character easily, reinforcing rather than contrasting it.

There is even, oddly matching the visual, a kind of sharp red onion style character – especially in the finish where it gives a quiet savoury underline to the finish. Also, I mean this as a complement, it is really odd what flavours actually work in a lambic where you would hate them elsewhere.

As you can see from the main notes, there is a lot to examine – from lemon curd thickness to peppery spice and fresh menthol air, but I’ve tried to cover the main prominent themes here. The rest are just extra sparks of flair.

A lot going on, a lot worth examining, another great Vandenbroek.

Background: Vandenbroek! From the Netherlands, not Belgium. I may have, erm, made that mistake last time and had it pointed out to me. Many thanks! Serves me right for half arsing research. Especially as it turns out it is a place name. Anyway, always good to admit you are fallible. Still, been adoring their lambics, so decided to grab this one for giving a go. This is made with fermented grape must, with the peel and grape pips remaining in the beer for up to 10 months – duplicating a traditional wine making technique. Since lambics are already the most wine like of beers, this is an interesting take. The abv on the bottle may be saying 6.0 or 6.8%, a quick google suggests 6.8 so that is the one I went with. This is another one grabbed from Independent Spirit. They have a decent range of Vandenbroek and a huge range of sours in general, which makes it very easy to dabble with this style. Music wise I went back to IDLES: Joy As An Act Of Resistance to listen to. Ultra Mono is good, but that is IDLES best in my opinion – and that mix of anger and emotional vulnerability still kicks, especially in the current world situation.