Sunday, November 09, 2008

Rosé De Gambrinus

That's the answer. The question is: What do raspberries, a legendary Flemish King, 1st Amendment legal battles and watercolor depictions of a naked woman have in common?

Brewery – Brasserie Cantillon in Brussels, Belgium
Style – Fruit (Frambozen) Lambic
ABV – 5.0%
Serving Type – 375 ml bottle

A few months ago there was a forum thread on BeerAdvocates about someone asking for help in getting a bottle with the "real" label on it for his bottle collection. Turns out that where the original poster was from (Elk Grove, CA according to his profile) the label shows a woman in a blue dress sitting on a guys lap:

When I picked this beer up at Belmont Station, I got the label that artist Raymond Coumans envisioned back in 1986 and that has been placed on every bottle that you can find throughout the rest of the world, thus proving that pointless censorship is alive and well in the land of the free:
Gambrinus is sometimes referred to as the patron saint of beer, or king of beer. His is a fictional character who supposedly ruled the Flanders region of Belgium and learned how to brew from Isis herself. The person he is believed to be based on is John the Fearless who is also credited as the inventor of hopped malt beer.

Popping the cap off the bottle I see that there's a cork as well. Pulling that out (with a little difficulty given my corkscrew wasn't designed for this bottle type) I noticed that this beer was bottled in 2006. Pouring it into my "Original Czech Bud" tulip glass I can see that has an amber/strawberry hue to it betraying the fact that 200g of fresh raspberries per litre of beer were used in the fermentation tank. The crown dissipated almost immediately and left no lace. The aroma was full of earth and raspberries, but there was also an acid/vinegar smell that let me know this was going to be very tart.

On the first sip I couldn't taste anything it was so very very tart, it was almost painful. Knowing what I was now up against, I braced myself and continued drinking. I could definitely pick out the raspberries and some strawberry flavor in the front and middle, and a hint of the cherries on in the back of my mouth. It finished very dry and sour with linger fruit flavors. In the future I would definitely need to cut this with some food to be able to enjoy it to its fullest extent.


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