All About Lambic Beer
Lambic beer is a traditional Belgian beer brewed since the 1400’s. Lambic brewing is unusual in which it is produced through spontaneous fermentation, rather than through the careful introduction of specific yeasts and other organisms to malted grains. It is exposed to the wild yeasts and bacteria that are said to be native to the Senne valley, in which Brussels lies. As a result, lambic beer has a very distinctive flavor, and the flavor of such beers can be rather unpredictable, with each batch being entirely unique. Many lambic producers actually blend their beers, combining young lambic with more mellowed older lambic.
Lambic is a very distinctive type of beer brewed only in the Pajottenland region of Belgium (southwest of Brussels) and in Brussels. Lambic is now mainly consumed after re-fermentation, resulting in derived beers such as Geuze or Kriek. Lambic brewing though rare in modern times, but it was once the universal method of making beer.
"Strong Belgian beer," 1889, related to Fr. Alambic "a still" (see alembic).
Lambic beer today:
Two aspects of the production of lambic make it unique today. First and most famously is its spontaneous fermentation. Lambic brewers do not pitch a carefully managed yeast strain from the lab in their wort as do most brewers today. Instead they leave their wort open to the air and invite, even direct, their region's microorganisms in to the sugary feast. The result is a wild, funky, sour beer that varies wildly from batch to batch. Second, after fermentation and barrel aging the various batches are compared and blended. Often old and new brews are combined giving lambic its characteristic depth and complexity.
A wide mix of wild yeasts and bacteria that are used to ferment lambic that changes from batch to batch. The other ingredients are more precisely added and in their own way just as interesting. Like many other Belgian ales, lambic contain a minimum amount of unmalted wheat. This provides some heft to the body, something not always shared by other soured beers. It’s important to note that the hops used are stale. This is why there are practically no detectable hops quality in lambic, stale hops lose the more common traits of the herb but retain its preservative qualities. Many lambic beers also contain fruit.
Types of Lambics:
- Lindemans Framboise - Brouwerij Lindemans - Belgium
- Kriek De Ranke - Brouwerij De Ranke - Belgium
- Cantillon Lou Pepe - Kriek - Brasserie Cantillon - Belgium
- Cantillon Rosé De Gambrinus - Brasserie Cantillon - Belgium
- Drie Fonteinen Oude Gueuze - Brouwerij Drie Fonteinen – Belgium
- Lindemans Pêche - Brouwerij Lindemans - Belgium
- Cantillon Iris - Brasserie Cantillon - Belgium
- Lindemans Kriek - Brouwerij Lindemans - Belgium
- Chez Monieux - Alpine Beer Company - California
- Boon Oude Kriek - Brouwerij Boon - Belgium