Friday, June 5, 2009

The Session #28: Think/Drink Globally

I've been following The Session (a designated day each month to blog about a particular beer related topic) on other blogs, but never really felt compelled to participate. However, this month's topic hosted by Brian Yaeger of Red, White and Brew got me a little excited. The assignment is to write about the farthest brewery (including brewpubs) you have visited and specifically the best beer you had there. Well, I just couldn't pass up the chance to write about my visit to the brewery that's not only the furthest away that I've visited, but also one of my favourites: Brasserie-Brouwerij Cantillon or simply Cantillon Brewery in Brussels, Belgium.

As most beer enthusiasts will know, the Cantillon Brewery is well known for brewing authentic Lambic style beers in the same location using the same methods since 1900. When they say "nearly nothing has changed during the last century", they really mean it! Walking through the brewery is like being transported back in time.

I was the first person to arrive for a tour that day (what's wrong with drinking a lambic for breakfast?) and wandered through the brewery alone on the self-guided tour. Afterwards, I was offered a glass of their Gueuze by one of the brewers I had seen shovelling out a fermenter. Now, not everyone can appreciate the funky sourness of a Gueuze style of beer. I've heard the flavour and aroma compared to some pretty sick stuff by first-time tasters. I admit, it is an acquired taste. However, if you are able to get past that initial sourness, you can start to appreciate the other subtle flavours that the beer contains. And, since the process involves blending beers of different ages, no two batches of Gueuze will ever taste the same.

If in Brussels (or close to Brussels or if you can even just find Brussels on a map), I highly recommend dropping by the brewery and taking the tour. The experience of standing in a 100+ year old family-owned brewery and sharing a beer with the brewer himself is hard to describe.

The topic for The Session #29 is Will Travel For Beer and will be hosted at Beer By Bart.

1 comment:

Brad said...

Bravo, Steve. I loved Cantillon so much, I named my blog after it. And wouldn't ya know, we snapped some shots that look a lot like yours. Good eye!