The OUDE GEUZE MEGABLEND 2015 from HORAL (Hoge Raad voor Ambachtelijke Lambiekbieren (Dutch), High Council for Artisanal Lambic Beers (English)) is our eighth and final BrewView for our LAMBICS, SOURS, AND WILD ALES feature that carried over into March from February 2016.
We had read about this magnificent Geuze, but never thought that we would have the chance to actually taste and BrewView it!
Once again, our good friend Stu Stuart of BELGIAN BEER ME! BEER TOURS surprised us with this rare treat! It was one of the many beers he sent us in late 2015. We saved (what we consider) the best of the lot for last…
The High Council for Artisanal Lambic Beers (HORAL) is a non-profit organisation that groups the gueuze producers in the Payottenland and the Valley of the Senne.
The HORAL board currently consists of 15 members, which comprises of people from the major Lambic producers in Payottenland / Senne Valley and public relations representatives.
The goals of HORAL are:
- To promote artisanal lambic beers and their derivates, with attention to the complete process from brewing process till serving.
- To report irregularities with regard to artisanal lambic beers and their derivates.
- To take the necessary steps to protect artisanal lambic beers and their derivates.
The Toer de Geuze, the day where upon breweries and blenderies in the Payottenland and the Senne Valley open their doors to the public, is one of the biggest beer events in the world. Unfortunately, this event only takes place every two years. At other times visiting the breweries and blenderies is not always possible. Some places are not publicly accessible at all, and during the weekends most breweries are closed because there are no brewery activities then.
Held every other year, the next date for the Toer de Geuze is on Sunday, May 7, 2017.
However, all year round people from all over the world are visiting to the Payottenland and the Senne Valley to have a taste of the authentic and artisan beer culture from the land of gueuze. It would be a shame if they missed out on this unique opportunity because of the restricted visiting times of the breweries. HORAL came up with a solution: the digital Toer de Geuze. Thanks to this storytelling project everybody will be able to have a virtual look behind the walls of the lambic breweries and geuze blenderies, to get acquainted with the world of lambic, old gueuze, old kriek and the spontaneously fermented beers. This will be done through a series of stories spread over 14 locations in the Payottenland and the Senne Valley.
For more info on the Digitaal Toer de Geuze, click here.
The Lambic Academy is an educational initiative by HORAL that offers skilled support to anyone who is engaged in Lambic beers at a professional level. This training course is primarily geared towards pub and restaurant owners and their staff.
During the Lambic Academy session you will learn about the basics including the history of lambic beers, different producers, their beers, insights into the brewing method, and its characteristics. Thanks to the many useful tips and practice with serving, smelling, and tasting authentic lambic beers and the positioning of lambic beers in the Belgian beer scene, you and your staff will have a solid basis to offer your customers an Oude Geuze or Oude Kriek. Your deep knowledge of traditional lambic beers will become an extra trump card and asset in your pub or restaurant.
ABOUT HORAL’S OUDE GEUZE MEGABLEND 2015
The HORAL Oude Geuze Megablend 2015 is a compilation from 9 different Lambic producers:
This magnificent beer is not easily found outside of Belgium. However, you can place a mail order of 12 bottles through HORAL! Click here for more info.
WHERE TO ENJOY HORAL (AND MANY OTHER) LAMBIC BEERS
18.1 km west of Brussels, is the pub ‘In de Verzekering tegen de Grote Dorst’ (In the Insurance against Great Thirst) in Eizeringen. In January 2016, the pub was named for the 2nd consecutive time ‘Best Beer Bar in Belgium’ and ended 2nd in the List of ‘Best Beer Destinations in the World’, and also being named ‘Best Beer Bar in the World 2015’ by Rate Beer.com.
The pub carries one of the largest selections of Lambic beers in Belgium. Click here to view their beer menu.
It holds a number of Lambic-related beer festivals either annually or semi-annually. For a full list of events, click here.
BEER STYLE AND COMMERICAL DESCRIPTION
Style category: Belgian Geuze Lambic
Toer de Geuze
The Toer de Geuze was organised for the first time in 1997. Boon, De Cam, De Troch, 3 Fonteinen, Lindemans and Timmermans opened their doors for the public. Since then the open brewery day of the Payottenland and the Valley of the Senne has become a biannual event.
The previous edition of the Toer de Geuze took place on 19th October 1997, 3rd October 1999, 22nd April 2001, 27th April 2003, 3rd April 2005, 22nd April 2007, 26th April 2009, 1st May 2011, 21st April 2013, and 3rd May 2015.
HORAL Megablend 2015
This year, HORAL had again issued a Megablend. This old gueuze was especially made at the occasion of the Toer de Geuze 2015 and is a mixture of young and old lambic of 3 Fonteinen, Boon, De Oude Cam, De Troch, Hanssens, Lindemans, Oud Beersel, Tilquin en Timmermans.
Bottle number: 07159
OUR BREWVIEW on HORAL OUDE GEUZE MEGABLEND 2015
APPEARANCE / THE POUR:
7% ABV. Poured into a beveled tumbler glass (we tried to find a glass similar to the classic beveled tumblers used in Belgium to drink Geuze and Lambic beer from) and served at 55°F. Pours a pale gold color. SRM value, 4. The dense, slightly off-white colored head poured an easy 3- finger height, with large and small bubbles (we did ensure that it was a “Beer Clean” glass).
Although the high level of acidity of the beer was present, the head collapsed slowly. The rim variation color is pale straw.
There was nice gentle bubbling in the beer as we held it up to the light. The meniscus is medium rising. We did not rouse up the sediment in the initial pour, as to experience the overall complexities with and without it in the glass. Geuze purists shun against pouring any of the sediment from the bottle, but we did break tradition, and poured it in subsequent glass pours. For those who have been reading our BrewViews for the past 2 1/2 years, you know we love tasting beer sediment! (We can hear those in Belgium right now looking at us like we’re crazy.) It did have a slight cloudy haze to it, and after 6 minutes of pouring it, the head sustained an 1/4″ height- quite impressive. There was no lacework on the sides of the glass as the head collapsed, however.
AROMA / BOUQUET:
When we first opened up the bottle to take the glass pour picture above, there were powerful classic Gueuze aromas that you could smell from the neck of the bottle. Super complex aromas- it was very strange, we detected a very faint young (unripened) peach bouquet to it! It also had citrus fruit aromas- grapefruit and lemon. The classic Geuze aromas are there too- super musty, horse blanket / wet leather from a horse saddle, cidery, mild oak, wet hay, old hops, light to medium butyl esters, super funky Brettanomyces. There is also a gentle white pepper / white balsamic bouquet to round out the mix… EXTREMELY well balanced.
Oh… we took our time with this one! We did not taste this until 10 minutes after the initial pour. The flavor profile is hard to describe; now that we’ve tasted a range of Geuzes (from February 1, 2016 until this BrewView, March 31, 2016) you can taste the unique, layered tastes of the different microfloras from the different breweries / blenders. Super complex multi-faceted flavors… cidery, vinous, sour, dank, (our definition of dank is sour, funky, musty, etc.) The tartness level is moderate to high.
MOUTHFEEL / PALATE:
Light to medium bodied, the mouthfeel upon first sip, doesn’t deviate from the classic mouthfeel of a Geuze; the prickliness from the effervescence, it hits the tip of the tongue, the sides and the back of the mouth with its tartness. It gives the prickly feeling in your cheeks when you swallow your first sip. The aftertaste is very citric, cidery, with some wood flavors, which linger.
FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS:
*SIMILAR SUGGESTIONS AS OTHER GEUZES*
APPETIZERS: Raw milk cheeses, Boterhammen / Tartines, Charcuterie, Salade Liégeoise, Tomate-crevette / Tomaat-garnaal.
ENTRÈES: Moules-frites / Mosselen-friet, Waterzooi, Gegratineerde witloof / Chicons au gratin, Kip met frieten en appelmoes / Poulet-frites-compote, Paling in ‘t groen / Anguilles au vert. Chicken Marsala (instead of using Marsala wine, use the HORAL Oude Geuze) with white asparagus, or hop shoots if you can find them!
DESSERTS: As usual, plain cheesecake, blueberry pie, lemon tarts, key lime pie, grapefruit-vanilla curd, Grapefruit Meringue Baked Alaska.
Now that we’ve tasted a host of Geuzes over the past few months, we did recognize the delicate nuances of this one. Again, it’s hard to describe exactly what that is, but we DID notice a difference from all the others.
This is a champion Geuze for sure- it could be easily cellared for 20 years with the taste complexities only improving. You’d want to buy plenty of bottles to have over the years. Create a project that opens up a bottle every 6 months. Yes that would mean, if you think you can go the full 20-year journey for the project, that would mean purchasing 40 bottles… a small fortune!
This is a super fantastic beer- we absolutely loved it! And what a great beer to finish out our LAMBICS, SOURS, AND WILD ALES segment for these past two months! Super world class, seek this one out for sure!!
Our sincerest thanks go out to:
Stu Stuart from Belgian Beer Me! Beer Tours for your generosity and kindness in sending us yet another world class Lambic! If you haven’t been on one of Stu’s great beer tours, you owe it to yourself to go!
GORDON A. PONCE is the main driving force behind Belgian Beer Journal.com. Since 1983, Gordon recognized that beers from Belgium were special, set apart from the typical craft beer.
He views beers from Belgium (plus Belgian-style and Belgian Inspired beers from other countries) great examples of the brewer’s art. Gordon and his wife live in beautiful Northern California- a great place to enjoy Belgian beer! Ecclesiastes 8:15