Friday, March 1, 2013

Hanssens Lambic Experimental Cassis

Type: Lambic
Origin: Dworp, Belgium
Price: $15.99/12.7oz
ABV: 6.0%
NSP: 1.41

And Andy thought the NSP on the Almanac Honey Saison was low.  Check out this fucker. Alex and Deb left this one in my fridge, even though it's expensive as hell.  I confirmed that I could help myself to it; don't want to be that guy, drinking another Non-Snobber's expensive brew, even if it was taking up space in my fridge.  Anyway, me and sours don't have much history.  Some might say that an inexperienced yokel such as myself has no right to drink such an exceedingly rare commodity as this.  And yeah, I poured it in my gigantic Karmeliet tulip.  If you've got a problem that, then pardon my French, but you're an asshole.

Enough being belligerent.  The Hanssens family is apparently the last remaining lambic blender in Belgium (i.e. they buy wort from brewers and blend it themselves to make their own unique beers).  I guess this Belgian art form has waned over the years.  That's sad, because there's no good reason to have anything that has to do with beer ever wane.  Well, maybe Coors.  Apparently this was a one-off blend (hence, experimental)- so I actually feel kind of bad that I'm drinking it because I'm not sure Alex will be able to get his hands on more.

When I opened the bottle, I was a bit concerned that it didn't puff even the slightest bit.  And the pour yielded no head whatsoever.  But then I remembered reading somewhere that traditional lambics are uncarbonated.  I can't seem to find any information on whether or not this was bottle-conditioned, so I'll take the lack of carbonation as intentional.  The smell coming off the glass is pretty remarkable- powerfully sour, with a whole bunch of dark fruit (that's a good thing, given that this was brewed with black currants).  It's fairly winy, which I like.  The brett funk is actually pretty mellow, kind of hanging out in the background and letting the sourness have the spotlight.

If a 6% beer can be an eye-opener, this is a prime example.  It is SOUR.  But it's also really drinkable because it's super dry.  There's a lot of the dark fruit up front, mixed with a red wine vinegar flavor that I like a lot.  After a few seconds, most of the fruit flavor vaporizes, and you're left with pretty straightforward sourness.  The funky brettness is there, but again it's playing the guy behind the guy behind the guy.  There was a very little bit of dairyish flavor in the finish when I first started drinking it (yes, Samer, I know, diacetyl blah blah whatever), but it wasn't much, it didn't upset anything, and it faded away as I kept drinking.  All in all, it's incredibly clean, with none of the spoiled/vomit/septic foot terribleness that can ruin brett beers.

I'm pleased with this one.  Probably wouldn't buy it myself, but if you want to come for a visit, buy waaaaay too much beer, and then leave it in my fridge because you're flying carry-on, I'll be happy to drink it for you.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so used to seeing 750 sized bottles for this type of stuff that it looked, for a moment, like you were drinking from a PB-Bar-N-Grill sized chalice. Whew. Back to reality. Now I realize how fucking small the text on the label is. Wow. I need another beer.