I just wanted to link to this article from the Wall St. Journal on lambics. Lambics make up some of my favorite beers. I love the sour, musty, and funky flavors.
Tracking an Ancient Belgian Beer [wsj.com]
There’s also a great video to go along with the article.
In mid-November, I went to the Nikki’s Liquors beer dinner at Julian’s on Broadway in Providence. The beers were chosen by Mike from Nikki’s. I just wanted to write a little review of it, mainly because there were some interesting beers served.
First, in general, the beer dinner was a huge success. The pairings with the food were spot on (thanks to Mike the chef from Julian’s), the delivery of the courses and the beers were quicker than the last beer dinner I attended there (the Dogfish Head one over the summer). Finally, the pairings were better than those at the DFH dinner. They’ve done several since the DFH dinner. I imagine they got used to pairing with beer and were fixed any mistakes to streamline the process.
Now, the beers. The first beer was Traquair Jacobite. This was an excellent Scotch Ale with some nice dark fruit flavors that paired nicely with the cheese and raspberry starter plate. The second beer was Tripel Karmeliet, an awesome Belgian Tripel that went perfectly with the salad. The third pairing was a bit odd, but the beer is worth mentioning. It was Baron’s Black Wattle Superior Wattle Seed Ale. This beer is like nothing I’ve had before. It’s almost like a Brown Ale, but it’s not. The wattle seed comes from a tree in Australia. It gives the beer a nutty chocolate flavor. The beer is lighter in body, but big in flavor. If you see it, it’s a must try. It was paired with samosas, which were fantastic. The fourth dish was a choice as it was the entree. I got the Old Rasputin with the steak. The beer was on nitro-tap, giving it an awesome creamy mouthfeel that enhanced the beer a bit. The other option was Southern Tier Unearthly IPA with escolar. Dessert was my favorite part. We also had a choice. I got the De Dolle Oerbier Special Reserva 2006, which came with an orange cream tartlette. The beer was easily one of my favorite beers. It was funky and slightly sour with a nice fruity flavor. The other option was Oude Beersel’s Oude Kriek Vieille with a chocolate covered vanilla bean cheesecake. Finally, there was a finishing dish, which was a truffle paired with Xyauyù, a strong English style barleywine from an Italian brewery.
It was an excellent night of beer and food. The pours were small enough so no one got too drunk, unless they were ordering other beers in between courses, which some were. Julian’s is doing a stouts and porters beer dinner on Sunday, which I will be attending. I’ll write a review shortly after, rather than waiting a month.
Mike at Nikki’s Liquors gave me a great idea… buy two lambics and do a side-by-side comparison. The reason for doing this is simple, they’re the same beer, one is just aged longer. The beers are Kriek (cherry) lambics from Oud Beersel. We started off with the Kriek, just a standard cherry lambic. This one was very sweet, almost juice-like. It was thicker and more syrupy. There was no detectable tartness or sourness to this one. In fact, I just plain didn’t care for it.
The older brother, however, the Oude Kriek Vieille, was quite different. This beer actually tasted like a lambic. It poured a nice cloudy deep red with a small pink head. It smelled nice and funky and musty (this is a good thing). The flavor was tart and sour cherries, some must and mildew (again, this is a good thing). This is what a lambic is supposed to be.
I can’t understand why this brewery, which can clearly make a great lambic, would make the regular Kriek like that. The Oude Kriek Vieille wins this one by a landslide. Susan liked them both – the first because it was a sweet dessert beer and the second because it was sour “like a true lambic”. I’ve heard rumors that one of these beers (the good one) might be featured at an upcoming beer dinner. I’ve also heard some rumors about the possibility of a sour beer dinner (that’d be one kick ass palate killer). I’m not just a hophead, I’m also a sour/funkhead.