Brouwerij Drie Fonteinen was founded in the municipality of Beersel, Belgium in the 1880s as a cafe and geuzestekerij, a place where young and old lambics acquired from other breweries are blended together to produce geuze.
In 1953, the establishment was purchased from the mayor of Beersel, Jean-Baptiste Denaeyer, by Gaston Debelder who expanded the enterprise by adding a restaurant on site before retiring and leaving everything to his two sons, Guido and Armand, in 1982.
With help from his father, Armand took over the blending operation, while Guido focused on running the kitchen in the cafe. In 1999, despite a massive downturn in the market and multiple brewery closures in Belgium, Armand opened his own lambic brewery located in a building behind the cafe. This allowed him to begin the process of brewing his own beers, instead of just blending beers acquired from other breweries.
Before we dive into the history of this beer, a quick word on what is a geuze? It is a blend of one, two- and three-year-old Lambic beer; Lambics are brewed with spontaneous fermentation generally in a coolship, which is a shallow metal pan.
Oude Geuze is a 6 percent ABV beer, which is the base for many of the beers Drie Fonteinen is known for, such as Hommage and Framboos. They are said to have begun bottling this particular beer all the way back in 1959 and prior to 1999 they use to use other brewers Lambics to create their geuze. Just months prior to bottling this particular bottle, Drie Fonteinen was using blends of lambics brewed by Boon, Lindeman and Girardin due to climate control failure in the brewery in 2009.
I poured the 375ml bottled March 16, 2014 into a snifter glass and it had a thick and disconnected white head that quickly popped itself away. What’s left in my glass looks like beautiful apple juice, there’s an orange hue and I can borderline watch TV through the glass it’s such a clear beer.
It’s very musty smelling; I get sour apple, vinegar, stone fruits, sweet malts and lemon zest. There is a ton going on in the nose of this beer, it’s really hard to track down all of the aromas that are going on, but its’ really a beautiful smelling beer.
I am tasting lemon zest, black pepper, some spice, sweet citrus, some funk and lactic acid and citrus sweetness. Just like the nose, this beer has a whole lot going on, it’s not overly tart, but that it could possibly grow sourer after it develops longer in the bottle. This one at about 20 months is in a really good place right now, there is sweet, sour, fruit, funk, earthy hay, really an incredible blend of very complex flavors.