February 17, 2012
Belgian Apple Lambic
Let’s be honest, when we started this project we believed two things. First, we believed we knew a lot about beer. Second: we believed that Lambics were beginner beers, nothing more than alcoholic sparkling cider. Wrong on both counts.
Let’s start with the basics, shall we? Since we clearly couldn’t provide a satisfactory definition for Lambic, that seemed a logical starting point. Behold, the iPad app “BJCP Styles” (Beer Judge Certification Program) to the rescue. For those of us who are not beer experts, well-versed in styles and beer nuances, it is an invaluable tool.
Lambics are spontaneously fermented sour ales, from the the area in and around Brussels. They stem from a farmhouse brewing tradition several centuries old. Hops are used for a preservative effect rather than to provide bitterness. While lambics tend to be tart (think about the bite that a green apple has) they shouldn’t be vinegary or particularly acidic.
Before we aquired this knowledge about Lambics, we were biased. We imagined a smooth apple juice flavor with no depth. Considering our mutual, mostly negative, feelings going into the Lambic tasting, we were pleasantly surprised. The scent of apples was like a swift kick in the face. Despite a sweet start, it finishes bright, crisp, and clean. It certainly isn’t one note; the taste changes on your palate as you sip it. We can imagine serving this for Easter dinner with smoky glazed ham. It would also be a great brunch beverage, replacing the traditional mimosa.