Last weekend I visited Brussels, it was my first time in Belgium and I was more than a little excited to try the range styles Belgium is so famous for.
My first stop was Brussel’s last traditional, family run brewer Cantillon, famous for both its spontaneously fermented Lambic beers.
The beers are made with a 65% barley and 35% wheat grist with aged hops in the boil. As aged hops are used around 2-3 times more hop is required but this is done as they bring not only bitterness but also act to preserve the beer.
Once the beers are fermented they are stored in oak or chestnut wooden casks and aged for up to 3 years. Over 100 different yeast strains are used during the spontaneous fermentation plus 27 acetic acid bacteria and 38 lactic acid inducing bacteria.
An aged lambic is a very challenging drink so often different years are blended together to form a gueuze, a signature style of this brewery.