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Advice for a Gueuze newbie?
Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 9:37 pm
A few years back I went to a beer dinner at the Beer Bistro. The tasting guide for the evening told me that hops would move aside and sours were going to be the next trend in beers. At the time I wasn't sure I believed him but it would seem he was spot on with his prediction. I tasted a sour that night and although my recollection is pretty fuzzy ( my wife came to the dinner too and although she tasted everything she gave me most of her drinks to finish ) I definitely remember the sour was not at all my thing. With all the chat here about Gueuze, lambic, Brett and the like I thought it time I revisit the style. I grabbed a Gueuze Fond Tradition and am almost ready to open it. I am still pretty intimidated by it and am looking for any tips on how best to enjoy it. Is it best ice cold or at cellar or room temperature? Is it best with any type of snack?
I love my milds, IPAs, stouts and others too but sour just seems odd to me. Perhaps it is for years of chronic heartburn but the idea of drinking something that is intended to be this way just doesn't seem natural.
I have serious doubts I am going to like it but I really want to try it and see if I can ride the wave that seems to be moving through the beer world. Any advice to help me out?
Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 9:47 pm
There are a lot of different sour beers out there. Some are slightly sour and some are intensely so. If you haven't previously enjoyed sour beers you have had, starting with a gueuze is a pretty intense dive back in. They are generally as sour as they come, without any fruit or other additives to cut the tartness.
You may want to begin with something a little more mild. Unfortunately, the selection in Ontario makes that a bit tough to do. Rodenbach, which is on tap in Ontario, may be a good place to start.
But if you just want to dive right in (which is not a bad idea), I personally would not want a gueuze to be terribly cold. Cool, but not cold. I think cellar temperature is nice, but I tend to like things a little warmer than most.
Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 9:55 pm
Well I took it out of the fridge a half hour ago and it has been staring me down from the table ever since. I too prefer my beers slightly chilled at the most. I am the sort of person that when the pool is chilly I cannot use the stairs but must jump right in to the deep end. Perhaps this is the way for me to introduce myself to the style!
I will finish my Rhyme and Reason and crack open the Fond
Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 10:07 pm
"Sours: I'm just getting to know you a little first."
Petrus Oud Bruin
is a nice sour Flanders Red/Brown example that's not overpowering at all, and Liefmans Goudenband
is a little stronger but still easy going enough.
Verhaeghe Duchesse De Bourgogne
is another Sour Red/Brown - still more sourness balanced by a heavier sweetness (if at all I'd drink it colder to lessen the sweetness and sharpen the dry/sour qualities.)
You might find any of these at beer bars as they've been around the LCBO in pretty recent times I think... De Dolle maybe at Premier Gourmet on the right day.
Berliner Weisse and Leipziger Gose are two fairly easy-going styles that should lean to some sourness if well-made and not be overrun with sweetness like some Ontario examples. To that end I just picked up Nickel Brook Über Berliner Weisse
at Summerhill, bottle says same 3.8% ABV as NB's Green Light Berliner and I can't wait to sample its lacto sour/vinegar overtones in the flavors and aroma.
Star column Josh Rubin
Also - why be intimidated, your bottle of Gueuze Fond Tradition is just one piece of one very strange puzzle called Lambics that may take some time to fill in. And lots of risks.
Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 11:10 pm
It is such an entirely different sensation than any other style of beer that is hard to put them in the same grouping.
It is not exactly refreshing or tirst quenching. It leaves my palette completely wiped clean. This would be fantastic as a palate cleanser between courses. Crisp and invigorating and yet layered and complex.
I am not sure that It will become a regular in my fridge but I can see looking for a few different styles and having a tasting one night in my future.
I will have no trouble finishing the bottle.