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Lambic beer – beer or wine?

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Most people I know would trade the world for a glass of chilled, cold beer and have a huge smile on their face once they have it. They would smirk at people having the “sophisticated” glass of wine and likewise. But very few people know that a glass of beer can be as expensive and sophisticated as the delicate wine. There are fierce loyalists to this type of beer known as the Lambic beer.

Lambics are living beers that contain living microbes and is brewed in the southwest region of Brussels, Belgium. Traditionally, wheat beer is made with 70% barley malt, 30% unmalted wheat and hops are added only as preservatives, not for the bitterness. Lambic’s  is then fermented by exposing it to wild yeasts and bacteria that are native to the Senne valley, in Brussels. The fermented brew is stored in barrels, just like wine,  for a period of 3-4 months (young) to about 3-6 years (mature). This unusual process gives the beer its distinctive dry, vinous, and cidery flavour with a slight aftertaste.

The aged brew stored in cool, dark places or under mild refrigeration takes on a rich, fruity complexity and much like wine, are not exposed to excessive temperatures because the living microbes will otherwise die. This delicate craft of producing a Lambic, makes it the most sought after fine drink, just like wine.

Lambic beer, is to be savored  like wine and not gulped like beer often is 🙂 The beer is often paired with a wide range of foods. A true Lambic beer goes well with light, white meat entrees like roasted rosemary lemon chicken and goes wonderfully well with desserts from chocolates, to cheesecakes.

The Timmermans Brewery has been around for more than 300 years brewing Lambic beer. History traces them to 1702 when they set up their brewery in Itterbeek. It was then known as ‘Brasserie de la Taupe’. Today they produce a fine variety of Lambic beer namely: Tradition Gueuze Lambic, Tradition Faro Lambic, Tradition Lambicus, Framboise Lambic, Kriek Lambic, Peche Lambic, Strawberry Lambic.

The types of Lambic/ Derived beer and the foods that they are usually paired with are:

Gueuze: A good gueuze can be kept for about 10-20 years, and is made by refermenting (for a year) a mixture of bottled young (1 year old) and old (2/3 year old) lambics.  Gueuze is usually paired with spiced desserts.

Faro: A light, sweet beer made by adding water/lighter beer to lambics along with herbs and brown sugar. It tastes divine when had with a dark Belgian chocolate or a chocolate truffle.

Kriek: Usually cherries are steeped in the beers, thereby producing a stark, penetrating dryness in the beer, accentuated by bitter, earthy and mineral flavors. Cheesecakes  go well along with Kriek.

Fruit: Lambics with addition of raspberries, strawberries, peaches, black currant and grapes. This has to be paired with fruit complimentary foods to feel the real richness of the flavor.

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Written by admin

July 7, 2011 at 2:13 am