Funky. Fruity. Incessantly spontaneous. No, it's not your ex we're talking about; it's lambic beer, the companion that never disappoints. Lambic beer is almost 500 years old, practically the grandfather of beer history. And it is not interested in your new brewing techniques, so please, get off its lawn.
Lambic beer has a distinctively sour taste with a cloudy appearance, mild carbonation and a thick mouthfeel that's best characterized as "funky." Practically every bottle stands out and is fun to drink, especially when you consider most lambic beers are fermented with apricots, raspberries, grapes and other bits of nature-candy.
This unique, archaic beer is only produced in Belgium's Senne River Valley. That's because it's spontaneously fermented. Lambic brewers use an age-old technique that relies on stale hops and lambic ferments out in the open air. We're talking open windows to let all the bacteria-riddled air in. Before you turn up your nose, you must know that lambic beer relies on this bacteria and yeast settling into the broth before it's fermented in oak barrels with fruity combinations. The result is a refreshing sourness unlike any other beer, and it cannot be replicated elsewhere in the world.
Types of Lambic Beer
To make lambic beer even more exciting, you have different types to choose from:
How to Drink It:
First, find lambic beer. Stat! Bottles are typically labeled as framboise, kriek, peche, pecheresse or cassis. Lambic beer is best served at the standard cellar temperature (50-55 degrees) in a flute, tulip or snifter. But we won't judge if you're not that fancy. A stange is perfectly acceptable.
After pouring the lambic, take a sniff. Most lambic beers are described as smelling fruity, earthy, acidic and citric, but we've also heard the words goaty, horsey and barnyard thrown around. The taste can be reminiscent of cider or sherry with smoky or cheesy aromas.
Despite their low ABV, lambics are great for storing, so feel free to hoard if necessary. Keep the bottles away from light in a place with consistent humidity levels and cellar-like temperatures. And always store beer standing up. When you finally crack it open, there's no need to refrigerate in advance. Serve it at its storage temperature.