20 April 2010

Gueuze Cantillon

Gueuze is for beer what spalted wood is for timber.  Gueuze brewers age their beer in long alignments of oak barrels (mostly old wine barrels) in dusty old buildings.  When brewers went from wooden crates to plastic to transport bottles,  the wooden crates became  available at a low price.  This is one of those survivors used to store wood scraps in my workshop.

The Gueuze Cantillon is one of those spontaneous fermentation beers of the Brussels regio.  Apart from their beer stock, the biggest  asset of Gueuze breweries is supposed to be the accumulated 'dust' in their old buildings and cellars containing the local natural ferments.

Geuze is a type of lambic, a Belgian beer. It is made by blending young (1-year-old) and old (2–3-year-old) lambics into a new beer, which is then bottled for a second fermentation. Because the young lambic is not fully fermented, it contains fermentable sugars, which allow the second fermentation to occur. Lambic that undergoes a second fermentation in the presence of sour cherries before bottling results in kriek, a beer closely related to Geuze. (Wikipedia)

Lambic: Unlike conventional ales and lagers, which are fermented by carefully cultivated strains of brewer's yeasts, lambic beer is instead produced by spontaneous fermentation: it is exposed to the wild yeasts and bacteria that are said to be native to the Senne valley, in which Brussels lies. It is this unusual process which gives the beer its distinctive flavour: dry, vinous, and cidery, with a slightly sour aftertaste. (Wikipedia)