The past few years, I’ve cracked open a big, effervescent saison beer to ring in the New Year. Such saisons are a solid fit for the occasion, but they’re not quite the champagne of beers, which is clearly the Gueuze style. A blend of spontaneously fermented beer aged in oak, incorporating beer that’s at least 2 years old, Gueuzes are also quite bright and effervescent. They are usually even caged and corked, just like champagne. Alas, I appear to have misplaced my sabre, so I had to open it the old fashioned way.
This Girardin variety seems to be pretty well regarded for a gueuze not made by Cantillon or Drie Fonteinen, so let’s see how 2013 began, beerwise:
Girardin Black Label Gueuze 1882 – Pours a bright orange color, slightly hazy, with a finger of white head. Smells of fruity funk, with that twang that indicates sourness. Taste is very sweet, with some tart fruit hitting in the middle and evolving into true sourness in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, but crisp, well carbonated, drinkable, but that sweetness gets to be a bit much as you finish this off. Still, it’s all pretty well done. Not quite the revelation that, say, Tilquin was, but very good in its own way. B+
Beer Nerd Details: 5% ABV bottled (375 ml, caged and corked). Drank out of a tulip glass on 1/1/13.
The sour march goes on, some other exciting stuff in the pipeline too, so stay tuned.