Last Sunday was the day after the Music City Brewers Fest and I think we were all moving a bit slower than usual. Loading and unloading cold plates, tap systems, kegs, etc… after a beer fest in the almost 100 degree heat can be brutal. To top all that it’s Sunday…which means a new episode of Breaking Bad. My good friends Ryan and Julie happen to be moving out of state the next day to start a new chapter in their lives. But even in my tired and non beer wanting state I wasn’t going to miss hanging out with them one more time.
After an hour of chatting and sampling some non sour beers a bottle of Cantillon Saint Lamvinus comes out of hiding. I should have known my friends would have a special sour for us to enjoy together one last time. Thinking back… some of my best sour beer tastings and conversations have been with them. These are the same friends I met up with at Falling Rock during GABF that didn’t even blink twice when I suggested we buy a 3 year old bottle of Isabelle Proximus to share during lunch. As I am thinking this I am also foaming at the mouth to get this bottle open, I have never seen this beer, only read some remarks about it, so here is my review. Comment below and let me know what you think about this beer.
Appearance– A type of crimson/red/ruby/plum color I have never seen in a beer before. Pink head that was very thin and fell quickly. Tiny bubbles that were soon gone.
Aroma- Classic lambic funk blended with red grapes and red wine vinegar. One thing that stood out to me was the aroma of a really good homemade grape jam or preserve. The subtles I picked up were woody, almost freshly bailed hay, and some slight green apple.
Taste- From the first sip you know it is Cantillon. Lactic tart/sourness, Merlot grapes, bitter grape skins, barnyard funk, oaky tannic. The grapes really ride each sip from beginning to end, but the grape flavor changes from a tart wine grape taste to a funky grape.
Overall- This is the beer that winemakers worry their precious vino will become if an infection takes hold. It’s a very solid fruit lambic and extremely enjoyable. The body of the beer was spot on, too much more and it would become a bit too much mouth feel. Even though it had all the classic lambic funk, I thought it was on the upper part of mildly acidic. I imagine vintage versions would hold up pretty darn good.
Because of this beer the wheels are already turning in my head for a new sour recipe. Maybe some real vineyard grapes with the wild yeast and funk still on them or some vinters juice/puree in the secondary…..hmmm.
This was the perfect beer to say the “See you later / good byes” to. It was awesome and different, much like most sour beer fans.