Style: Lambic sour ale
Brewery: Oud Beersel Brewery
When it comes to strange beers, it isn’t just the beer that can be a bit weird, but also the packaging. Bag in box beers are extremely rare, and I’ve only every seen one or two breweries produce them. As they are so rare, I thought it would be a perfect fit for this tasting. This beer comes from Oud Beersel, which is an artisanal lambic brewery based in Beersel that was founded in 1882 by Henri Vandervelden. It was family owned until 2002 when it closed due to financial reasons, but was reopened in 2005 with new owners. Lambic differs from most other beers in that it is fermented through exposure to wild yeasts and bacteria native to the Zenne Valley in Belgium, which gives the beer its distinctive dry, vinous, and tart flavours. This lambic was brewed with elderflower (fläder). But was the beer contained inside the thick, plastic bag any good? It split opinion on the night, as most lambics do.
This beer had a straw yellow appearance with a partial haze. It appeared to be quite flat, but that would make sense, as high carbonation would rupture the bag. This of course meant that hardly any head formed when poured, and was almost reminiscent of a scrumpy cider. The familiar vinegar, hay and citrus notes that usually dominate most lambics were present, with a soft elderflower hint backing them up. The taste was tart, dry and vinegary and awake the senses. The citrus notes came through more in the aftertaste, with a little green apple alongside the white wine vinegar tones that made the mouth bone dry after a while.
Whenever I have a lambic in a tasting, there are always some that love it and some that hate it. I understand both sides, as I quite like the funky farmyard sourness of it, but it can be too much very quickly. I thought this was a very nice example of a lambic, but I would have hoped for a little more of the elderflower to have come through in the taste. The main downside to this is the fact you have 3 litres of lambic to drink once it’s opened. If you want to buy one of these, make sure you have friends that also like sour beers, as this would be nigh on impossible for one person to stomach on their own!