Every couple of months I come home from work to see an unexpected box waiting on my porch. It is one of the most beautiful sights a beer nerd can see. The sight of a bottle shipper box fresh of the FedEx truck waiting to be torn through like a Christmas present in the hands of my six-year-old son. A couple of Fridays ago I was gleefully pulling beers from a box that was sent from the editors at Tenemu and one by one I was excited to see the review beers for the coming weeks but one beer in particular peaked my interest more than the others.
Hanssens Oudbeitje Lambic is a Belgian lambic1 that is fruited with strawberries. Lambic is hands down my favorite style of beer and any time I get to open a bottle it is a good day. I was particularly interested in this bottle because of the fact that it was fruited with strawberries. While I love eating strawberries all of the strawberry beers I have had have not lived up to what I would hope. I have heard multiple brewers mention that strawberries can be difficult to work with and based on the examples I have tasted I think I might have to agree.
So, I have waited long enough and it is time to crack open the strawberry lambic. As I pop the cork and pour the beer the first thing that jumps out at me is that the fact that the beer seems completely still. With a fairly vigorous pour2 I was unable to get even the slightest resemblance of head. The color is an attractive bright orange with a hint of pink but the lack of bubbles is concerning.
I raise the glass to take a whiff and get that oh so familiar lambic funk that I love so much. I often see and use myself descriptors along the line of parmesan cheese, musty cheese or funky cheese and I realize how disgusting that must sound to a someone unfamiliar with the style but trust me that funky cheese aroma is a good thing. Along with the earthy funkyness I get a big jammy strawberry note that gets my hopes up for this one. Hints of acetic acid (vinegar) notes and overall tart acidity round out the bouquet.
The time has finally come to taste Hanssens Oudbeitje Lambic and once again the first thing I quickly notice is the absolute lack of carbonation. I get a pretty high level of acidity along with the vinegar note as well. The acetic (vinegar) note is a touch higher than I would want but that is far from my biggest complaint against the beer. The total lack of carbonation really hurts this overall experience in a big way. The high level of lactic acid combined with the lack of carbonation combine in a weird way that becomes hard to drink as I work my way to the end of the bottle.