Bob Townsend’s Beer Pick: Cantillon Classic Gueuze

Located in the center of Brussels, Brasserie Cantillon proclaims itself “Brewers of Belgium’s Most Authentic Lambic.”

Classic Belgian lambic, known as the world’s oldest beer style, is brewed with unmalted wheat, malted barley and aged hops, and undergoes “spontaneous fermentation” with wild yeast and bacteria.

Gueuze is a blend of old and young lambic that goes together to create a tart, refreshing, singularly complex beer that connoisseurs covet.

This weekend, the Cantillion booth at The Festival in Atlanta has had the longest lines, as lambic devotees queue up for a rare taste of the likes of Citoyen du Monde or Lambic d’Aunis.

In honor of that ardor, Cantillon Classic Gueuze is this week’s Beer Pick.

Beer Pick

Classic Gueuze
Brasserie Cantillon, Brussels, Belgium
Very limited availability in 375 mL or 750 mL bottles and occasionally on draft

Profile

Cantillon Gueuze is brewed with 35% wheat, 65% malted barley and dried hops, fermented with wild yeast, and aged in centuries-old oak casks. But the final magic comes from the art of blending of one, two, and three-year old lambics of various flavors and acidic intensities to create a harmonious bottle-conditioned beer.

The result is a sparkling, dry, champagne-like beverage with a citrusy aroma and a zesty tart flavor filled with wonderful depth and complexity. Notoriously hard to find, it is among the best examples of gueuze in the world. And if you’re able, you can cellar it for up to 20 years.

Pair with

The refreshing acidity of gueuze is a classic combination with Belgian-style mussels and frites. But it’s also a sparkling complement to seafood in general, including raw oysters and ceviche, and it makes an elegant match for a cheese plate.

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