Of course, the Euro-beercation would not have been complete without a trip to the motherboard. After taking a cozy (but pricey!) train ride to Brussels, I walked over to Cantillion, which was surprisingly close. The brewery blended right into the street of quaint little boxes, portraying a sort of humbleness and authenticity that you immediately fell in love with.
As I walked through the door, I spotted a man at a podium nearby. With a quick, "Parlez vous anglais?" I was redirected to the self-guided English tour. With the free tour comes two free tastings of a choice of three beers. While a few other beers were available to purchase by the glass, most were only available in a 750mL bottle, which had to be opened and drank at the brewery. I suggest bringing friends, or grouping up with strangers to get the most tasting without wasting.
Lambic straight from the barrel, aged 16 months - This poured a urine-like color, deep yellow and hazy with no head. Aroma was tart, lemon-rind and funk. Taste was funky, wet wood, and apple-esque towards the end, bitter apple. Low carbonation and drying finish.
Geuze - This was not as tart as the lambic I tasted first. It was cloudier, but still a piss yellow color. Funky smell with some white grape fruity esters. Nice, easy mild tartness. A bit of spice at the end. Lighter bodied, medium carbonation.
Rose de Gambrinus - Deep, clear, pinkish color with hues leaning more towards garnet. A pink head, which dissipated quickly. This had a beautiful aroma of raspberry with a touch of barnyard funk. Tastes bright and slightly sweet at first, then dries out like a wine towards the end. Slightly acidic and effervescent.
Zwanze 2012 - This pours a light golden clear color and has a thin, white head. Smell is cat piss-esque, kind of tangy. Definitely pick up the subtle rhubarb in the taste, but not sweetened, which was perfect. Well balanced. Tart and drying towards the end. Lighter bodied.
Fou' Foune - This poured a dark hazy orange with a thick white head. Wow, a big, sweet apricot smell with some underlying funk in the nose. Tart, not overly apricot sweet, like you may assume from the nose. True apricot in the flavor, not candied or artificial. A nice funk takes over, without any astringent or vinegar-like qualities. Probably my favorite beer of the entire trip. Perfectly balanced.
Lambic Haute Densite - This poured a clear copper/amber color and had no head at all. It smelled like apple baby food and slightly vinegar-like towards the end. Somewhere between sherry vinegar and apple cider vinegar in the taste with slight oakiness. Oxidized. Body was flat and more towards the astringent side. Oddly enough, the more I drank it, the more I liked it.
Malted chocolate - Their malted chocolate tasted like the wort from a stout! Delicious. I suggest tasting the little malt grains on their own too by picking them off the chocolate. This was a nice snack to pair with the Fou' Foune.
Though brewing season had just ended when I had visited and many bottles were sold out, I snagged a few Rose de Gambrinus, Geuze and Kriek Lambic Bio to bring home for friends. Like and follow my Facebook Page for updates through out the week on how to win a beer box with one of these 375mL Cantillion bottles, along with other OHL selections.
Until then, hoppy drinking!
- One Hoppy Lady