BREWVIEW ON LINDEMANS CUVÉE RENÉ

LINDEMANS CUVÉE RENÉ OUDE GEUZE is our third BrewView for our LAMBICS, SOURS, AND WILD ALES feature for Febrewary 2016, and our first full BrewView for any Lindemans Lambic beer. (Our first mention of any Lindemans beer was way back in the beginning of Belgian Beer Journal – LINDEMANS FRAMBOISE LAMBIC INSTEAD OF CHAMPAGNE AT OUR WEDDING RECEPTION” from October 21, 2013). To say this BrewView is way overdue, is a major understatement. We always knew that we were going to feature a segment on Lambic beers, but due to their low availability here in Redding, that was not entirely possible, until very recently.

For many Americans, Lindemans were the first Lambic beers that they tried, due to the excellent efforts of Merchant du Vin, but we’ll get to that in a bit. We were first exposed to the Lindemans beers in the mid 80’s, and the first one we tried was their Kriek. We had always read about Geuze (or Gueuze) in beer books from The Beer Hunter, Michael Jackson. However, we really took an interest in them as we watched THE BEER HUNTER video series from 1989 that featured the Lindemans brewery:

Our first taste of LINDEMANS CUVÉE RENÉ OUDE GEUZE was in 1994 and found it to be wonderful, and enjoyed it many times since! However, the last time we enjoyed it before this BrewView was 2009. Thankfully, it recently became available again here in Redding, and truly looked forward to tasting it.


ABOUT BROUWERIJ LINDEMANS

Since 1822, the Lindemans brewery has been brewing the most idiosyncratic of all beers, making it one of the oldest “modern-day” Lambic producers in existence today. Perfectly situated in a section of Belgium that is famous for its invisible microflora that spontaneously ferments the Lindemans beers, as if it was a divine appointment from GOD.

The brewery was founded on a small farm in Vlezenbeek. The brewery’s patriarch was Frans Lindemans, the brother of the then-baillif of Gaasbeek. In 1930, due to the growing success of the brewery, the agricultural activity was stopped definitively to focus on the brewing of Kriek and Gueuze. They produced their first Faro in 1978. Shortly after, in 1980 the brewery started its production of Framboise. Consequently, in 1986 and 1987, Lindemans added Cassis and Pecheresse to its assortment. Finally, in 2005, Apple was the last beer to be introduced.

The brewery, to this day, is still a family company, ran by 6th generation brothers Nestor and René before their sons Dirk and Geert, took over the business, each having a 50% interest in the company. The sons have expanded their product line with a new collaboration brew with Brewery Mikkeller called SPONTANBASIL, a Oude Geuze spiced with fresh basil, and in July 2015, Lindemans teamed up with a well known Belgian distiller De Moor to create their first distilled gins. (Sourced from Wikipedia)


ABOUT MERCHANT DU VIN

Specialty beer importer Merchant du Vin was founded in 1978, a time when Americans could not buy the world’s classic beer styles – in fact, unless they had travelled to Europe most Americans had never even heard of pale ale, hefeweizen, or Trappist ale. MdV founder Charles Finkel realized that the flavors found in the great beers of England, Germany and Belgium were a universal pleasure that should be available to all adults.

The goal of Merchant du Vin is to enhance people’s lives via the unmatched aromas and flavors found in great beer. Merchant du Vin’s selling proposition is to educate the consumer and arouse curiosity as to the differences among the classic beer styles, and to make these beers available for purchase at stores, restaurants, and bars. Merchant du Vin’s portfolio of beers comes from the nations with deep, rich brewing traditions: England, Scotland, Germany, and Belgium. (Source: MDVBeer.com)

ABOUT CHARLES FINKEL

Charles Finkel is an artist, writer, designer and entrepreneur from Seattle. He and his wife, Rose Ann, founded Pike Brewing Company in 1989. Beer writer Stephen Beaumont calls Charles, “no less than a legend in American beer circles.” According to Washington’s second earliest micro-brewery founder, Paul Shipment, “Finkel was so far ahead of  the curve in the alcoholic beverage business that even pioneers like me were astonished!” Charles’ career started during college when he managed a liquor store.  After completing his studies in design and marketing in 1965, he moved to New York to work for a wine importer. He was voted outstanding salesperson the following year. In 1969, Charles founded his own wine company, Bon Vin, the first to offer what Charles described as ‘boutique wines’ from California and Washington State. Among those was Ste. Michelle. As the exclusive agent, he became the de facto representative for all Washington wines nationally (there were only two vinefera table wines in the state at the time). In 1974 Finkel, and his wife Rose Ann, sold Bon Vin and moved to Seattle where he became VP of Sales and Marketing at Ste. Michelle.  Charles design was selected for the chateau, which was opened in 1976.

Charles Finkel – President, Founder & Owner (Photo credit: Pike Brewing)

A lover of beer as well as wine, Charles founded Merchant du Vin, now the world’s largest craft beer importer, in 1978. He was the first to offer craft beers; the first to offer beers from Belgium; the first to market fruit beers; and the innovator and revivalist of many brewing styles like Oatmeal Stout.  As a designer, his labels adorn some of the world’s most famous beers. Madison Avenue Magazine described Finkel’s award winning graphic designs, “As stunning as anything from Klimt or Mucha.” The Italian magazine Il Mondo de la Birra (The world of beer) titled an article about him “Le art directore de la bierra” (The art director of beer).

He received the Brewers’ Association Recognition Award in 1988 and was described by the French Canadian Biere Magazine as “as among a dozen principals responsible for the modern renaissance of beer.” In 2006, Draft  Magazine listed him as one of the 10 Beer Innovators that had shaped the American Craft Beer renaissance. Charles was the arts curator for the Oxford Companion to Beer published by Oxford University Press in 2011. His articles and photos have appeared in a myriad of books and magazines. His beer reviews have been published in Beer Magazine monthly for more than 20 years.  He has spoken on the history of American Craft Beer at the Smithsonian, been keynote speaker at the National Homebrewers Convention and American Craft Beer Wholesaler’s Guild and has appeared in many films and TV shows about beer. (Source: Pike Brewing)


BEER STYLE AND COMMERICAL DESCRIPTION

Style category: Belgian Oude Geuze Lambic

The History of Cuvée René
An ancient beer style, Gueuze, or Geuze, (pronounced “GOO-za”) is wild-fermented wheat beer that is made with only aged hops, and those in small quantities. Because gueuze is fermented by multiple strains of yeast, acting over an extended period, it is a testimony & tribute to the yeast strains of the Senne River Valley.

The brewers blend aged lambic and younger lambic, to taste, and refermentation occurs in the bottle after capping. It is highly coveted by gourmands in Belgium and in the US who lay it in their cellars, sometimes for years. Lindemans Cuvée René is authentic “Oude Geuze,” every batch blended by hand. (Note – the French spelling is gueuze and the Dutch spelling is geuze.)

Taste
Glowing golden color, cidery, winey palate; reminiscent, perhaps, of bubbly dry vermouth but with a more complex and natural flavor. It’s very dry, appetizing and energizing, but some tasters do find gueuze to be demanding the first time they taste it due to the sour and acidic flavors that make it so unique. Cuvée René has been imported into the US since the early 90s, a time when the “sour beer” category didn’t exist here.

Serving Suggestion
As an aperitif in place of dry sherry, with carbonnade a la beouf, mussels poached in gueuze, flavorful cheeses; sometimes served in Belgium with cubes of sugar on the side, to sweeten to taste. Serve in a tall, thick tumbler.

Accolades
100 points, Craft Beer and Brewing Magazine, June/July 2015.

US Open Bronze Medal “Belgian Lambic,” July, 2015.

“World’s Best Geuze,” World Beer Awards, 2013

Gold Medal, Brussels Beer Challenge, 2013

Wine Enthusiast Magazine “Top 25 Beers of 2012”

96 points & highest-rated wild ale, Wine Enthusiast Magazine: August 2012

Gold Medal – World Beer Championships, 2011

Ratebeer.com: 97 points (September 2015)

97 Points “Classic,” – Draft Magazine, Nov/Dec 2008 


OUR 2016 BREWVIEW OF lINDEMANS CUVÉE RENÉ OUDE GEUZE

APPEARANCE / THE POUR:
NOTE: Bottle date stamp LB100GC (Bottled February 1, 2015)

5.2% 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 light to medium golden color. SRM value around a 4-5. The white colored head poured an easy 3- 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. We purposely roused up the yeast  in this pour to experience the aromas with it.

As the head collapsed about 5 minutes later, the head sustained a 1/8″ height. The lace left behind was even sheeted. Subsequent refills of the glass reproduced a nice 3-finger height head.

AROMA / BOUQUET:
Classic Geuze aromas- barnyard, earthy funk, horse blanket, hay, peach skin, citrus. The level of funky aromas are a bit more “delicate” than other Belgian Geuzes.

TASTE:
In the taste, Cuvée René is gentler in the sourness / tartness and funk than other Geuzes as well. We found some grassy notes mixed with mild citrus (lemon). Cidery, moderate grapefruit flavors. We got unripened, very young peach- (not to be confused with Lindemans Peché flavors!)

MOUTHFEEL / PALATE:
Medium bodied and well balanced, the tartness and acidity blend well, which makes this a very easy to drink Geuze. Not overly sharp or sour in the finish, there is some gentle wood that causes you to analyze and ponder. Upon first sip, it hits the tip of the tongue, and fills the back side area of the mouth and gently tickles the throat.


FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS:

APPETIZERS: We would suggest pairing with the following cheeses- Blue, Gorgonzola, herbed Goat cheese, Sharp Cheddar, Stilton.

ENTRÈES: Mussels poached in Geuze with fries, Carbonnade  a la beouf, Konijn in geuze / Lapin à la gueuze.

DESSERTS: Anything lemony and tart. Lemon triangles, lemon bars, straight cheesecake with light lemon pith shavings.

OVERALL IMPRESSION:
We love introducing new beer styles to our unsuspecting  friends. Many have heard about “sour beer” but Merchant du Vin was importing Lindemans Lambics in the United States decades before it was known as a popular beer style.

Cuvée René would be a perfect Oude Geuze to introduce to your friends that are expanding their beer drinking horizons! It has all the classic characteristics of a Oude Geuze, but the tartness and acidity are not explosive-off-the-charts… Lindemans brewed this beer to appeal to a wider audience.

All Lindemans Lambics have a special place in our hearts, since they were the first we tried of the style. So many memories, so many different events were enjoyed with Lindemans these past 3 decades.

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 beer as well.

We’ve always been fascinated with the history of the Lindemans brewery since we first viewed it on TV back in 1989, and continue to be impressed with the new direction Dirk and Geert Lindemans are taking the brewery. This is a Oude Geuze not to be missed- it is widely available in the US thanks to Merchant du Vin and their distribution network. It’s a must have for sure.

The aging potential of this world classic is fantastic- drink some now, and cellar several, enjoying one each subsequent year.



Lenniksebaan 1479
1602 Vlezenbeek, Belgium
Phone : +32 (0)2 569 03 90
Fax : +32 (0)2 569 05 10
info@lindemans.be


Lindemans Lambics available in the USA through

119 1st Ave. So.
Suite 400
Seattle, WA 98104-3471
Phone: (253) 656-0320
Fax: (206) 402-4792
info@mdvbeer.com