Thursday, February 2, 2012

Brasserie Cantillon - St. Lamvinus

Brewed in: Brussels, Belgium
Serving Type: 750 mL bottle, poured into a snifter

Saint Lamvinus is a classic Gueuze, a blend of young and old Lambics, aged with French wine grapes, from the Bordeaux wine region in the cask. The beer pours a pinkish maroon body with darkish brown undertones. The thin white foam of the beer has a minor pink hue. The foam is wispy and leaves elegant, yet thin, traces of lace on the glass and clings slightly to the surface of the beer. The nose is very tart and sour with a definite cellary funk. Rich juicy red grapes enhance the tart character and offer a refined sweetness. The nose also carries a slight medicinal aroma, a bit like a medicated cough drop.

Like most excellent Lambics St. Lamvinus is highly carbonated with dancing Champagne-like bubbles. Lambic beers are the true "Champagne of Beers," Miller High Life, on the other hand, is a true joke. The grapes are fresh and fruity and give both hints of fruit and lend a remarkable meatiness to the beer. Hints of raspberry and other tart fruit show as well. The aged, cellary funk is pervasive, at once adding to the tart mouthfeel and lending an aged dustiness. The finish is tight and tart. The light medicinal edge returns, but is not off-putting. As the beer fades, a dry and vaguely sugary feeling remains.

This beer is a one of a kind and a true treat. Cantillon is a world renowned brewer and at the absolute height of the, very few remaining, Lambic producers. If you can find this beer, get it! While most Lambics are suitable for extended cellaring, I would not recommend cellaring this beer for any significant length of time. The delicate grape infusion is sure to lose its potency and its true contribution if left in the cellar for too long. If you find this, not only should you get it(!), you should enjoy it soon!

Final Verdict: A

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