Surely the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon is at Clink with Roberto Ross drinking 10 Lambic beers? Well that is what Dave and I were lucky enough to do, along with Jeff, Jo, Andrew and Donna, on the 6th of November.
Upon arrival Roberto told us he was worried there wasn’t enough beer (?!) so he’d brought along 3 additional beers. To add to this we brought a bottle from our visit to Three Floyds to share with our new friends. So that bumped the total to 14 – it was going to be a good afternoon! It wasn’t all liquid as we’d all brought along a selection of nibbles to help soak up some of the alcohol too! So we were ready to go…
Now I’m not planning to write you a blog on all the beers (you can see the full list in the picture) but I am going to take the liberty of picking out some of the stand out beers for me from the tasting.
Let’s start with the “add on” beers – there were 2 stand outs here the first being Brassiere Du Pont Avec les Bons Voeux. This was an exciting opening as Roberto did not know what year’s vintage it was – it had expiry date of 06/2006 so it was cracking on in age! The answer lay on the cork – 2001! So a 15 year old beer, would it be vinegar or nectar? I have to say that, thankfully, it was more the latter than the former. Upon pouring it still showed a good level of carbonation and a sweet sherry like aroma. That aroma carried over in the flavours with a slight cane sugar hit but smooth notes balanced by the light bubbles. A real treat! The next stand out from this set of beers was the Three Floyds Chevalier Bertram de Guesclin which we brought back from our visit to the brewery tap room last month (what a place that was!). This is a sour blueberry ale aged in wine barrels. Small bubble carbonation helped to deliver a fruity beer with a good level of sharp sourness. I’m glad we’ve another bottle stored away!
Having made a good start here we were onto the ‘main event’. I had 4 top beers from this list, which is not to say that the others were not good – they all were (as we expect from Roberto) but these ones took the biscuit (and cheese, olives, crisps etc!). An interesting “set” of beers for the first one – 3 Founteinen Golden Doesjel 2015. Roberto told us that doesjel means lazy and refers to the yeasts in these brews – sometimes the just don’t wake up and there is little or no fermentation. To test out this we had 7 bottles! The idea here was to blend these bottles together and see what we got. The first bottle to be opened had good carbonation but after that they were certainly “lazy” with a range of little to absolutely no fizz at all. Mixing them together (in 2 rounds) worked well and allowed us to see how the flavour changed with the carbonation levels. To me the less carbonated ones had a less woody flavour which was more pleasant even if they were flat.
My next choice is Tilquin/Rulles Stout Rullquin 2015. This is a blend of 7/8 Rulles Brune (Stout de Gaume) and 1/8 of a blend of year old lambics. It’s matured in oak barrels and refermented in the bottle for 6 months. The barrels certainly add to this flavour – an almost red wine note to it. I also got a hint of chocolate from this very light and drinkable beer. Also an interesting change to the other more traditional lambic beers we had during the afternoon.
My third favourite of the day was the Oud Beersel Bzart Kriekenlambiek Millesime 2012. This is a 13 month old lambic made with Haspengouwse cherries (try saying that 10 beers in!). The beer is then aged in 130 year old barrels for 6 months and finished with champagne yeast. As you can imagine it was a complex tasting beer! I was certainly getting a really good champagne soaked cherry flavour coupled with some dark chocolate notes too. It all added up to a very smooth dark beer.
My final choice of the day was 3 Fonteinen Oude Geuze (Cuvee Armand & Gaston). This is a blend of lambics from 2013, 2014 and 2015 and limited to only 10,500 bottles. It is also the first beer to be made on their new kit without the use of imported wort. It had much more body than the standard Oude Gueze (of which I am very fond) with a malty richness and more depth of flavour which I guess comes from the blending. We can only hope that all the beer from the new kit is this good!
Thanks to Roberto for sourcing all these beers, many from his recent trip to the opening of the new 3 Fonteinen taproom – I have to say I remember seeing pictures of this trip on social media, I was sitting at my desk at 9am whilst Roberto was on his first lambic at 10am local time – I’m wondering if I’m in the wrong job! Also thanks to Jeff, Jo, Andrew and Donna for the great company and impromptu picnic. Finally thanks to Clink for hosting – a pleasure as always chaps!
Here’s to the next event – cheers!