Located in the village of Sint-Ulriks-Kapelle near Brussels, Brouwerij Girardin is a small lambic brewery that was purchased by Franciscus-Alexius Girardin in 1882. One of Franciscus-Alexius’ sons by the name of Jean-Baptiste took over the brewery business in approximately 1930, and one of his sons named Louis Girardin took over in 1962 after his father died. Louis passed away in 2000, leaving his daughter Marina and son Paul in charge of the brewery, where they remain to this day.
Brouwerij Girardin is a main supplier of wort to lambic blenders, including Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen in Belgium, De Cam Geuzestekerij in Gooik and Hanssens Artisanal bvba in Belgium. The brewery’s lineup includes gueuzes as well as a faro, kriek and a framboise, although the latter two are made with frozen fruits instead of fresh fruits. Interestingly, the brewery also brews a lager and a range of soft drinks under the name Girli, which is short for Girardin Lemonade.
Brouwerij Girardon produces three different gueuzes as part of its lineup: Fond Gueuze Bierpallieters, Gueuze 1882 (Black label) and Gueuze 1882 (White label).
Coming in at 5 percent ABV, the Gueuze 1882 is both unfiltered and unpasteurized, packaged in 375ml as well as 750ml bottles, In addition, while traditional gueuzes typically consist of a blend of one-year, two-year and three-year old lambic, the Girardin 1882 is actually a blend of 12-, 18- and 24-month-old lambic. Although Girardin 1882 is distributed around the world, it is only sold in 375ml bottles in the United States.
The Gueuze Gradin 1882 pours a golden hay color, hazy but not cloudy, with a slight reddish tint. Three fingers of off white head quickly dissipates to a thick lacing that lasts close to the entire time I am drinking. Visually, there seems to be plenty of carbonation in the glass, and aroma is combination of lemongrass, white pepper, oak, stone fruits and mineral salt.
From the first sip, flavors of lemongrass, creamy oak, minerals, funky horse blanket, yeast and slight stone fruit sweetness flit in and out, with none more dominant than the rest. The mouthfeel is exceedingly—almost distractingly—creamy and despite my visual inspection, there is just a bit less normal carb than normal for the style. The finish alternates between sweet stone fruit and bitter fruit pits depending on the sip, which changes the profile of the beer pretty much every time I drink.