Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Cantillon Rosé De Gambrinus

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (961) - Albany, New York, USA - SEP 3, 2013
I poured a 375ml bottle into a champagne flute. It was bottled on 18 February 2013. A friend picked this up while he was in Switzerland and gave me this beer (thanks, Jason!).

Appearance: Magenta-colored body, opaque, but plenty of carbonation bubbles can be seen sticking to the side of the glass. Initially forms a large pinkish/indigo soapy head, but it fizzles away quickly and leaves no lacing.

Smell: A dry, earthy aroma of barnyard sourness. No fruit aromas in the nose, surprisingly.

Taste: There’s definitely a difference between sours and lambics, and while Cantillon Rosé De Gambrinus is technically a lambic, it drinks more like a sour since that’s the predominant flavor rather than any fruity character. It’s also a different type of sourness than I’m used to in American beers of the genre (e.g. Russian River’s wild ales). I’m not sure this particular beer lives up to the hype American beer nerds have been building up over Belgian sours, but I’m definitely glad I got to try it.

To call this beer sour is to state the obvious. Though it should be noted that even though it’s brewed with raspberries, there doesn’t appear to be any added flavoring or sweeteners. I’m not sure if it’s brewed with open fermentation and wild yeast, or if it’s done through a standard process, but either way the fermentation is the star of the show. It’s a sharp, dry sour complete with barnyard funk. You can almost taste hay and country air while sipping on it. The raspberry only appears at the apex of the swig and then just for a brief moment. It’s a pleasant sweetness as it breaks up the sourness into two halves. The beer ends the way it began, and the tartness lingers on the tongue and induces clucking - which is a fun, though slightly odd, experience. I definitely enjoyed the palette here, though it is a bit simplistic and repetitive. I’m sure this is even better to someone with an acquired, honed palate, but to me it’s just a very good beer.

Drinkability: While Cantillon Rosé De Gambrinus may indeed be pucker-inducing, it’s not a painful or challenging beer to drink. The carbonation dies down quickly, giving it a thin, relatively flat mouthfeel. Drinking from a flute helps the tongue naturally adapt to the flavor and ensure a smooth delivery. The sourness lingers, but it’s pleasant - not something you merely tolerate. There’s a lot of flavor here for only 5% ABV, though one serving is really all you need. 
Grade: 8/10