LAMBICKX™ is our fourth BrewView for our LAMBICS, SOURS, AND WILD ALES feature for Febrewary 2016. We became aware of the LambickX beers when Vanberg & DeWulf introduced them to the US market back in the mid to late 2000’s to enthusiasts in very limited quantities.
The first offerings were from the De Troch and Oud Beersel breweries, and were received with much fanfare. Any bottles you may find will most like be in specialty retail shops at a premium price. The were brew years from 2008 & 2009, with bottling years from 2011.
The LAMBICKX™ were are BrewViewing here was made at the Oud Beersel brewery, while bottled at the Brouwerij Strubbe brewery in Ichtegem, Belgium. Since the Oud Beersel brewery does not have a bottling line of its own, Strubbe helped out. We were absolutely shocked when we found this bottle on the shelves at our local Liquor Barn here in Redding- we are hoping the management will be more open to bringing in more Lambics… we’ll see.
ABOUT BROUWERIJ OUD BEERSEL
The Brewery Oud Beersel, which started in 1882, is located in Beersel at 10 km from the Brussels city center, in the southwest of the capital. It is one of the last remaining authentic lambic breweries of Belgium and well known for its lambic beer brewed along traditional brewing methods.
Lambic matures up to three years in wooden barrels, whereupon it is blended to make Oude Geuze. Sour cherries undergo fermentation in lambic beer and after a second fermentation in the bottle Oude Kriek is born. This unique brewing process with spontaneous fermentation is possible in Belgium in the Pajottenland region, the Zenne Valley and in Brussels, because of the presence of a specific microflora.
Due to the absence of succession in the family business at the end of 2002, the traditional lambic beers of Oud Beersel were threatened to disappear. Shocked by the loss of this cultural and historical patrimony, the brewery was taken over in 2005 and business was restarted pursuing the principal aim to protect the time-honoured lambic beers, as well as the cultural and historical heritage of Oud Beersel for the coming generations.
This traditional brewery of lambic beers is nowadays managed in a modern way with respect for tradition and the métier. The traditional part of the production process of the lambic beers, in particular the spontaneous fermentation, the maturation of lambic in wooden barrels and the mixture of various lambic casks and vintages constitutes the core business of the company. The production process is completed in close collaboration with excellent partners who manage the industrial equipment. By the synergy between the métier and the industry, Oud Beersel offers authentic products of the highest quality. (Source: Oud Beersel)
ABOUT BROUWERIJ STRUBBE
In the heart of Western Flanders, not far away from the busy traffic route Roeselare-Ostend, is situated the peaceful town of Ichtegem. It’s a place that never plaid a significant role in Belgian history, but that was occasionally in the news because of the presence of 3 breweries on its territory.
Nowadays only one brewery is still operational. Situated in the shadow of the 17th century St-Michel’s Church, the traditional Strubbe Brewery, the Virgin of Ghent – as she used to be called, is as old as our country.
In 1830, one Carolus Strubbe left the trading town of Tielt to try his luck in Ichtegem, a town well known for its flax industry. He became a farmer and brewer there: in summer, he tilled the land, and in winter he worked on the malt floor with his stirring barrel. At the time, most brewers grew their own raw materials, not only barley and grains, but some of them even grew their own hops. They made their barrels and tanks thereselves or at least restored them themselves; most of the time with oak from their very own trees. Due to this traditional method, there was a great variety of beer barrels in size and off course in content.
Since its establishment, the brewery stayed in the possession of the family for six generations, from father to son. Carolus Strubbe was succeeded by his son Louis, who passed on the stirring stick to his son Medard, who changed the name of the brewery into ‘Brouwerij Strubbe’ (Strubbe brewery). Later on, he left the control of the day-to-day running of the brewery to his only son Aimé. After Aimé, two sons joined the brewery: Gilbert Strubbe, who became Master in the art of Brewing and his brother Etienne Strubbe, who was responsible for sales and administration. Today, the business is in hands of Norbert Strubbe, who followed in his fathers’ footsteps, and of Marc Strubbe, Gilbert’s son, who manages the production process. In ancient times, each town had at least one brewery. In 1900, Belgium had 6.7 million inhabitants, 2632 cities, 197821 bars and exactly 3223 breweries. Nowadays the number of operating breweries has dropped to less than 100. Due to the never ending investments in their own company all over the six generations, from the founder Carolus Strubbe, to Norbert and Marc Strubbe (so over a hundred and sixty five years), the Strubbe brewery managed to survive. Thinking of their prestige, many brewers opted not to invest in their own company, but yet in houses that they converted into bars, which were thus obligated to buy the beers of the investing brewery. They were wrong, because at the time of the turn of the century, the amount of bars begun to drop considerably, from 197821 in 1900 to 152200 in 1920 and 85000 in 1950. Nowadays only 30000 are left. Due to the loss of regular customers (and rent) on the one hand, and the technical and quality disadvantage in the production process on the other hand, many breweries were forced to close their company down.
In 1978 the most important investments took place since the establishment in 1978 when Aigle-Belgica (formerly Brewery De Meulemeester-Verstraete) was taken over and was dismantled by Piedboeuf (now Interbrew). All useful copper brewing machinery moved from Bruges to Ichtegem, where they have been cherished. (Source: Brouwerij Strubbe)
BEER STYLE AND COMMERICAL DESCRIPTION
Style category: Belgian “Still” Lambic
C’est bon. C’est le gout du tonneau.
Lambics (like wine and unlike any other type of beer) vary by season, brewery location, barrel size, wood type, and length of aging. With Lambics one must speak of “gout du tonneau” because each cask (tonneau) produces a Lambic that matures and tastes different. A Lambic’s character comes not only from the base beer, but from the casks selected and blended together. LAMBICKX™ is our label for our hand-selected and blended Lambics. Every Lambic with the LAMBICKX™ name is blended from casks personally tasted and hand selected. The Lambics are chosen for their complexity, brilliance, drinking excellence by thselves as well as exquisite accompaniments to food.
Brew year: 2013
Bottle year: 2015
Number of bottles: 5579
Region: Zenne Valley
Source: Private Domain
Barrel type: 600 liter French Oak
OUR 2016 BREWVIEW OF lAMBICKX PRIVATE DOMAIN
APPEARANCE / THE POUR:
5.75% 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 beer from) and served at 48°F. Pours a pale golden color. SRM value, 4. The white colored head poured a restrained 1-2- finger height, with large and small bubbles (we did ensure that it was a “Beer Clean” glass). The rim variation color is slightly lighter.
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 yeast in the initial pour, as to experience the overall complexities with and without it in the glass.
Because of the extreme acidity of the beer, the head dissipated very quickly. The lace left behind was almost non existent. Subsequent refills of the glass reproduced a nice 1-2 finger height head, that also collapsed very quickly.
AROMA / BOUQUET:
When we first opened up bottle and made the initial pour, the intense bouquet that came from the glass was musty, barnyard, horse blanket, cidery, oaky, citrus, vinous super funk, with faint cooking herb aromas.
Wow- immediately we could tell this beer is not for the inexperienced or faint of heart. Super tart, super sour, ultra complex blend of strong French oak, cider, grapefruit, dry chardonnay.
MOUTHFEEL / PALATE:
The extreme sharpness and tartness massively assault the taste buds for sure, and almost catch you off guard. Light to medium bodied, it nails the back of the tongue with its tart, sour pucker feel. The finish is a combo of mustiness and wood. This may be a bit of a challenge for first-timers to drink; appreciating a beer with this much complexity takes years of study, reflection, and just pure experience of trying multiple Lambics.
FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS:
APPETIZERS: We would suggest pairing with the following cheeses- Blue, Gorgonzola, herbed Goat cheese, Sharp Cheddar, Stilton. Washed rind and Trappist cheeses would be a fantastic experience. Light garden salads with fresh greens would make a nice lunch due to the beer’s low ABV.
ENTRÈES: Moule en Frite for sure, wide variety of seafood, pork, foul. Would pair well with pastas with white cream sauces to cut the richness and offer a nice balance in the meal. Sushi, Weisswurst with sauerkraut. Paling in ‘t groen would be fabulous.
DESSERTS: The one dessert we could wholeheartedly recommend would be plain cheesecake.
Drinkers of cider, white wine, sherry, madeira, and even champagne would enjoy LAMBICKX™.
It is not often that straight (still) Lambics make it to our shores, especially ones of this extreme quality. Truth be told, we cannot remember the last time we tasted a still Lambic. It has been many years.
We can see why native Belgians cherish this style of beer so much. We believe that the Lambic beers and the ancient method of brewing these beers must be respected, and not bastardized by brewers in other countries calling their wild or sour beers “Lambics.” Only in Belgium has almighty GOD put His supernatural hand on these beers, to allow the wind to create such masterpieces.
We picked up our bottle at our local Liquor Barn here in Redding, California. We were so glad to see it on the shelves there, among some other Lambic beers as well. This is a world classic for sure, and since it is brewed in very limited quantities, we strongly suggest you purchase as much as you can to place in your cellar to age. This is a must have beer, don’t miss out!
Our sincerest thanks go out to Kevin Furphy and Brittany Cooper from Total Beverage Solution for providing Belgian Beer Journal with insider information regarding this beer!
LAMBICKX™ AVAILABLE IN THE US FROM TOTAL BEVERAGE SOLUTION
421 Wando Park Blvd.
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464