late beer news

We’ve just released a slew of awesome new beers on our site, and here’s a few below. Plus there are some amazing offers, especially the Palm case with a genuine 50% off!!
Don’t miss out on the incredible Marble beers (really sexy looking screen printed, hand wax dipped and paper wrapped!) , the Viven beers and the amazing Viven Imperial IPA (love American/Mikkeller-esque hoppy beers, at great value, you’ll love this!) a beer that’s turning heads in Belgium, and the number of Gueuze style beers (Cantillon, Drie Fonteinen, Girardin, Lindemans, De Cam, Oud Beersel) that we have now and then look out for more offers, new beers over the coming months. Continue reading

Lambicland

You’ll know from previous articles (Here and here) that I and a few of us at Beermerchants.com are big fans of Lambic and Gueuze style beers. So much so,  it’s a close call if you were to say that if I had to pick between California or Payotenland, the home of this fantastic style of beer, I would really be stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

Lambicland

A recent trip to the hard place, to arrange for Gueuze for the site,  Cantillon, Drie Fonteinen, Oud Beersel, Girardin and De Cam – it’s always a pleasure… kinda… Continue reading

Gueuze for you!

Colin and I have just got back from a wonderful day, grabbing a selection of Gueuze for all of you!

Beers, all great gueuzes from Cantillon, Drie Fonteinen, De Troch, De Cam, Lindemans, Girardin, Boon etc etc.   Anyway without wanting to spoil the surprise and I have a beer festival to go to, and it’s wayyyyy to sunny to be sat at a PC, here’s a few photos from yesterday. (i’ll post links to beermerchants.com as and when they are available, and of course I will put it over twitter too!)   Alll in all, it was an awesome day.   If anyone ever says to you, “all lambic breweries are alike…” poke ‘em in the ear and say, no. They are very very different to the next.   And, if you ever want a lesson in Passion, pure energy and commitment… watch Armand DeBelder, genius, legend, talent, commitment, pure passion… awesome moment.

Weekend of Sponteneous Fermentation!

A weekend at Ang’s

Beers of spontaneous fermentation are ales that use wild yeasts, Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus and Pediococus amongst others, rather than cultivated ones. All beer was once brewed this way, but by the Middle Ages brewers had learned to crop the yeast from one brew and use it in the next. Only in a few isolated regions were wild yeasts still used. The best-known region where spontaneous fermentation is still used is the Senne Valley in Belgium, where lambic is produced.

These are extraordinary beers, unlike any others you will encounter. If you do not know them then first taste will probably appal you. But with knowledge we hope you will become as enthralled as we are.

Lambic, the precursor of Gueuze, the epitomy of a gestalt,  is something of a hedonistic brew that a real hardcore fanbase has sprung up around over the last 20 or so years.   One such organised group the Opstalse Bierpallieters, have maintained an event celebrating the diversity and heritage of this stunning beverage.  Books by the incredibly charming and pleasant Joris Pattyn, along with Jeff Van Steen and many many affectionally termed “beergeeks” around the world, fueling demand for this incredible beverage.   There is an organisation that promotes this called HORAL – The High council for artisanal lambik style beers (acronym in Dutch for Hoge raad voor ambachtelijke lambikbieren) is a council of lambic breweries and lambic blenders.

Heading to Belgium is never a chore, especially when there is beer at the end of the rainbow.   Ang, (@Terry_tibbs), came down to Kent to meet me and head to Belgium on the Eurotunnel.   I hate in-jokes, but this was just about to turn into “a weekend at Ang’s…”  as much as, he forgot his passport again.     I headed off to Belgium, solo, with Ang heading back to london to find said passport and then jump a EuroStar to Brussels.   A detour around westvleteren is always a fine place to start a day.     I left there heading to Brussels to retrieve Ang from Midi,  with a  little stop into Drie Fonteinen’s new Lambic-O-Droom.

The recent 2005 Vintage Gueuze a really nice start to the lambic trip, and there are few finer places to wait for a text telling you that a friend is getting close.    Such was this horrendous delay to our trip, I decided to go have a steak and a nice glass of Lambic.  Sat in glorious sunshine, reading my beaten copy of Webb’s Belgian Beer Guide, in the back yard of the Cafe, drinking lambic, I was a very content happy chap.

Beep Beep, or more so, Parp Parp such is the ring tone on my phone.  Ang had arrived in Belgium.   I headed off to Midi, to find the Ang.     I found him, after a few circuits of a building site, driving apprehensively since flat tires are a pain in the ‘arris.   Something that struck me down on a upcoming beer trip.

We stumbled upon the old Belle Vue brewery,  where we did the beer tourist thing, dashing across the road camera in hand.   The Senne river struck me as much as the Mersey thru Manchester did.

We headed off up the motorway, with minimum of fuss on the normally chaotic Ring around Brussels.

Bruggehout is a town like, the ones when you arrive and really have to think hard as to the purpose of it’s existence.    Strangely they have a really nice modern hall, with Pile Rings as lights, well that’s what sprung to mind when you looked up.

Confronted with a list of 100+ lambic based beers, or beers of Lambic Origin was sooooo much fun to see.   Beers such as a 1988 Fond Gueuze was very high on friends lists of priority, I was intreagued more so, as to how the beer has held up.    The Cantillon Zwanse, a vintage brew, made this past year with Rhubarb was equally high on the list.   (I hear from Ang, that the ’09 is Elderflower?Berry?)  Various lambic, both Jonge and Oude from all the key brewers were available.     Ang and I dived straight into the 1988 Belle Vue fond and the Elyenbosch Gueuze, the Elyenbosch remarkably good whereas the Fond bottle we had, the acetobacter had really gotahold of it, saturating the lovely brett notes that this beer I believe should have.   The Fond was a discovery in the Belle Vue brewery by one of the organisers of the event, a purchase, and stored with love, care and attention.

There are only a few Lambic breweries out there, from the large thru small.    There are always arguments as to which is the best, I go with the they are all a matter of taste.     You might have heard of Boon, Drie Fonteinen, Giradin, Mort Subite?  But what about De Troch, DeCam, or Hansens, perhaps Lindemans?   They are very different from the next, but all of a type.    There are the sweetened fruit versions, as well as the authentic sweetened lambic – “Faro”  – Historically, a low-alcohol, sweetened beer made from a blend of lambic to which brown sugar was added.

Angelo and I wandered thru the menu of the gueuzes, spliting bottles with many of our friends around us, bottles flying here and there.    I must admit I do have a soft spot for the Drie Fonteinen, De Cam, OudeBeersel, Giradin, and De Troch Cuvee, brews.   The rare fruited Cantillon were very very nice, the Mega Blend, Timmermans and the new fruited Hansens were also on show, some drawing applause, some notable by the number of half drunk bottles left on the table at time of departure.

We moved on to the Horstel, for the Ratebeer Tasting.  Always a fun thing, especially when friends come from all over the planet.  Americans, Danes, Canadians, Brits and a couple of Germans.

Great beers were drunk, jokes retold and photos’ taken.  Highlights, Cuvee De Tomme, Barrel Aged and Non-barrel aged Alesmith Numbskull amongst a selection of great beers from around the world.

The following morning, somewhat a blur, we headed into the wilds of Payotenland, with a couple of Danish friends.  A fantastic morning grew around us. 

We ended up at some lovely antiquated bars serving both Oude and Jonge Lambic, especially lovely.   A great way to start the sunday.  We wandered around starting at the Groet Dorst, a little bar specialising in Lambic and Gueuze, we had a great little run around this nirvana of lambic and gueuze. Quite literally LambicLand!  Memorably we just drove past Elyenbosch, a former shadow of its self, a derelict building with a few signs up to mark it’s existence.   I shall return, especially to Gooik to DeCam.

We headed to something of  a Meca for great Gueuze, the Heeren van Liederkerke. The men of Liederkerke is very much concreted on to the map of must visits for great Gueuze.

We were able to settle down with an old Giradin, and a De Neve Gueuze, from ’99!

This whole trip has sort of reignighted my love of this amazing beer, leaving me wondering what gueuze from Brabux, Wets, Keersmaker or VanderLinden must have tasted like…

The amazing thing was also the different hues that the base lambic had, DeCam far more blonde, the Giradin light copper.    I can see it must be fun to be a blender of lambic.   Interestingly the J&J Rose and Blauw, created by Armand Debelder of Drie Fonteinen of various lambic houses, created to be masculine and feminine, and very much so, use 5 or 6 different lambic to create this incredible pair of beers.   The recently released Crianza Helena, based on entirely lambic from Cantillon, was again an experiential moment.

Angelo, and friends from all over the world – we sat and ate, drank, laughed and burnt in the sunshine.

There are times when you have to change scenery, so for a change, Angelo and I went to france.   We both realised that we spend so much time in Belgium, it’s become something of second nature to go here, there or whereever to drink amazing beer.

So, we went to France.   We had to be back to the train anyway, so we went to Cassel.   There is a little bar there that has a few interesing French beers, like Bavasiene, L’Audramarleois and the ever present brews from St. Sylvestre, the popular Trois Monts.   Ang and I suffered some French Fries and a kebab of sorts, with a Trois Monts.     Then hauled ourselves back to the tunnel sous la manche and to dear ol’Blighty.

Angelo, missed the last train to london, staying with me.  He made it to work on Monday.

- You can see more pictures here -

and, yes the range of Lambic and Gueuze will be changing very soon at Beermerchants.com

Brabrux golden 4.1-4.2%
Geuze Cuvee Renee Lindemans golden 5.5%
Geuze De Neve De Neve golden 4.1-4.2%
Geuze De Troch De Troch golden 5.5-6%
Geuze Drie Fonteinen Drie Fonteinen golden 5%
Geuze Extra Cave St. Pierre Brabrux golden 4.1-4.2%
Geuze Girardin Girardin golden 5.1%
Geuze Lambic Jacobins Bockor (Vanderghinste) golden 6%
Geuze Lambic Mort Subit De Keersmaeker golden 5%
Geuze Lambic St.-Louis Van Honsebrouck amber-blond 5%
Geuze Lambic Timmermans golden 5.5%
Geuze Selection Lambic Belle-vue golden 5.5%
Geuze Vieux Foudre Vander Linden golden 6%
Geuze Lindemans golden 5%
Geuze Wets golden 5.5%
Rodea Geuze Eylenbosch

Gueuze Mega Blend

How about this for some news, that I got at work.

About: Creation of a new lambic beer, especially for the 2009 Toer de Gueuze. The event will occur on Sunday April 26, at nine of the eleven remaining lambic producers: all except Cantillon and Girardin.

The new beer is called “Geuze Mega Blend.”

This brew is a blend of lambics from eight of the 11 remaining lambic producers; namely: Boon, De Cam, Drie Fonteinen, Hanssens, Lindemans, Oud Beersel, Timmermans and De Troch. Geuze Mega Blend was bottled October 15, and is currently maturing in 75 cl bottles.

I am intrigued. I really should look at my email inbox more often.

*edit – highlighted on Ratebeer.com, seemingly this text has come somewhat edited to me, from Chuck Cook’s blog - here –  he goes there a few times a year; bumped into him on occasion.

AVAILABLE HERE NOW – LIMITED AMOUNTS

Homebrewing, thanks and things.

Wow, what a weekend.   This is a Monday ramble.   Mobile phone switched off.

Saturday, whilst I was brewing, I have my laptop around for many reasons.   1, Promash.  2, The Brewing Network. 3, WebRadio.  4, Watching what’s going on on BEERmerchants.com

OK, so the brewing was a nice batch of a “Bright Blond”.  Oxymoron?  none intended.   My brew-buddy was gallivanting around the Low Countries – Even so I fancied brewing.   I had a batch to run to keg; yes dear cask lover – KEG!  I have cask in my heart, but as you well know the shelf life of a cask of ale when opened is 3-4 days at best for ordinary drinking bitter – not that I make anything “ordinary”.  The beauty, more so the practicality is that with a 19L Cornelius keg you can run your batch into it, after primary, secondary, racking to tank (with a load of dry hop) and pop some C02 in the keg and it’s good to go for a good while.  With a few kegs, as I have you can swap between the Toasted Oatmeal Stout, The Wantsum Perle, the Bonkers Barley Wine, and crazy Coffee Stout that you brewed for a laugh.  A quick run through with water and you can swap the kegs quickly, and to what ever takes ones fancy.    Yes, this is still home brew, but as a once “professional”… (read, “I know how to clean“) – friends and worse, family are frequent house guests…. I don’t know why?

Home brewing is great fun, starting back when I did as a student with the once-time batch of Malt Extract and nasty yellow “fuggles” – they could have been anything, then dumped at the deep end in a little brew-pub, was a crash course in cleaning and very little in brewing.    Recent returns back to the fold of brewer have put a smile back on my face – reigniting that burn of desire to get back an have a go.    Throwing recent efforts under the noses of lumiary brewers has been an experience, note learning curve.    I’d much rather take the subtle but harsh advice of them though than piss-artist neighbours just out for the buzz.

Brewing in recent weeks has come on leaps and bounds, culminating in the nailing of a particularly irritating and nagging water issue. This was the “Learning/Reminding myself” that water company’s have the liberty to change the chemistry of the water allll to frequently.    Solved with a little help from here by installing Reverse Osmosis might seem extreme, but considering you can write on a chalkboard with the water locally, might give you a clue to the reason why.

I am finally feeling like I am getting close to what I have brewed at times.    The pleasure in creating the brew that became “Dark Conspiracy” at Eddie Gadds brewery – sharing the experience with good friends,  and seeing them laughing and joking on the release night was pleasure by the truck load – then seeing comment on the excellent Pubs and Beer Websitehere – a neat experience and insight into the world of a brewer.

This is what beer’s about: the social lubricant.  Where I read that, I don’t know, but the years of traveling around beer and the people that I have the fortune to spend time with – and then reading it in the recent edition BeerAdvocate magazine, “beer is a democratic beverage” – yes it is.  and, I for one hope it stays that way.

Where this ramble started and ended, I have no idea why, or how.   Except I wanted to say thanks to all that bought the new Cantillon, the Drie Fontein, De Dolle, and the Dupont.  Then went to light my inbox up with “when is the Port Brewing/Lost Abbey? in?”, “Is it True?” and “can I order one of everything please!”

When, 1st week December, yes it is, and yes you can, but when it’s on the site.

Thank you so much!

Then a 11.30am meeting on Sunday in London with Mr Evans and Beckett, for Battle of the Brains, yes the BBC two show.  Well, fun it was.  Save for the taps in the loo and the message watch out for the high water pressure, ON THE BACK OF THE DOOR!?  after one had liberally doused the area that a man shouldn’t.  Clever huh!

and, check out the newsletter – here

Yesterdays arrivals and musings…

… yes, lambic…. and things of a sour note.


The arrivals gave me the incentive to go rummaging in the “beer store” – my garage – and see what gems I had forgotten about.

I stumbled upon a couple of boxes marked Cantillon, from when I was their in March, 08.  Seems like years ago – hanging out with Shane, Claudia, Rodger;  Great fun…   I will always know when, never be able to forget, as recently a book has been published showing the front of the Cantillon brewery – with my little blue van in the picture.   Anyhoo, back to the story….  Apricot Lambic…. yummy me thinks.

Recently I made a trip to the US with one beer as my target,  “Erics Ale, of the Lips of Faith” from New Belgium.  I, say we, stumbled upon it on a fantastic day spent with two very good people, Mr David Hopwood of Stone Brewing, and Rodger Davis of Triple Rock/Drakes fame.     My god did the Erics ale live up to expectations.  A peach sour ale, with lovely fresh clean sour notes; I say fresh and clean meaning with out extra chaotic notes from completely uncontrolled wild ferment.     Where as the Cantillon was great too, I loved what I was drinking – the apricot notes subtly coming through -where as with the Erics the peach notes can be found if you look hard enough.      I will admit that, on the day in question, a great many ales of note were consumed – from Russian River, through Lost Abbey, Hair of the Dog, et al… but the two glasses of Erics Ale, and the Wilden Zuid Train from Flossmoor were outstanding memories of that trip.

(travel pics here)

The Fou’Foune – verdict:  I will need to get some more of this.  I like it.  A summer apperatif, Cantillon house flavours carry the understated apricot – unsweetened, no syrups realllllll fruit – perfectly.   Is this an under the radar effort from Cantillon, missed with bigger beers in mind…?

NEWS OF THE BREWS: Arrivals w/b 3rd Nov 08

Dupont Avec Les Bons Veux 750’s “Les Bons Voeux” means best wishes, which is what Brasserie Dupont sends with this very special saison ale brewed only for the holidays. Redolently aromatic, rich and velvety, this is an ale to toast the season and welcome in the New Year! Ratebeer rating: 99/100

Drie Fontein Oude Gueuze 375’s  Armand’s house blend of 1, 2, and 3 year old lambics. Ratebeer rating: 99/100
Drie Fontein Oude Kriek 750’s  Armand’s house blend of 1, 2, and 3 year old lambics, with real cherry added.  Genuine Oude Kriek. Ratebeer rating:  96/100

Cantillon St.Lamvinus
750’s  Cantillon Lambics aged in oaken Burgundy wine barrels. Ratebeer rating: 96/100
Cantillon Vigneron 750’s  Vigneronne is a blending muscat grapes and lambic, the brewers and beer merchants produced the “druivenlambik” (grapes lambic). White grapes soaked in lambic. The fructose, which abounds in these fruits, enables us to make a beer which is more mellow than the Gueuze or the other fruit beers. The spontaneous fermentation, the ageing in the barrels for several years and the addition of grapes make it a distant cousin of certain white wines. Ratebeer rating: 94/100
Cantillon Grand Cru Brucosella 750’s  A classic, specially selected single batch of lambic, aged three years in the cask. The only unblended real lambic in bottle you can find anywhere. Ratebeer rating: 90/100
Ratebeer rating:
Cantillon Fou’Foune 750’s  Apricot lambic Ratebeer rating: 96/100

DeDolle Arabier 33’s  Arabier is a pure malt beer 7°vol/alc brewed with flower Nugget-hops from Poperinge. It has the special dry-hopping taste and aroma, so appreciated by beerlovers all over the world. It is one of the two main beers from De Dolle Brouwers throughout the year. Ratebeer rating: 93/100
DeDolle Oerbier 33’s  Oerbier means original, from the spring. This beer has been brewed in small scale (5 gallons). Oerbier is brewed from no less than 6 malts. Poperinge Golding hops in flowers and a special yeast which makes it a little tart, especially with aging. At the brewery we have excellent cellars which have a constant temperature of 8°C and allow Oerbier to age at its best. After a couple of years Oerbier tastes like it should have been blended with wine … Oerbier has been refermented in the bottle and contains a layer of yeast, having vitamins B. NAT en STRAF on the glasses means WET and STRONG, a warning for the 7.5 vol. alcohol content. The little person on the glasses is the Oerbier man, a simple creature who holds a brewers fork in his right hand, symbolizing the work and science, but looking to the other side, the result of all this, the glass of (Oer)beer. The artwork on the poster is a wallpainting found in Spain, (Altamira) and is considered by art lovers as being the best prehistoric art work (30,000 years BC). On the other hand we have Oerbier started in 1980, going on with the tradition. Ratebeer rating: 98/100

Something to liven the palate!

Each beer will be available by the bottle, and grab ‘em while you can (from tuesday, 4th Nov.)

(links will be added from site, when available)

On the Way!

Boon Gueuze!

The sign of things to come?

Funky Cantillon’s on the way, Drie Fontein on the way, De Ranke on the way, DeDolle on the way, and a few more too!

That’s not to mention, Bath Ales, Wye Valley, Little Creatures, Flying Dog, etc etc etc being available on the site as I type.

I think we’re offering 200 plus bottles now! pretty coool huh.