VLEZENBEEK/DILBEEK - It is often said that lambics are only for those with an experienced palate. At Brouwerij Lindemans, one of Belgium’s favourite brewers of this traditional style, they beg to differ. Helping them make this popularising point are their Lindemix beer cocktails.
These accessible drinks go down well even with non-beer drinkers.
And should those non-beer drinkers take a look under the bonnet of what they are drinking then they’ll be introduced to the rich world of aromas and tastes that are hidden behind the simple name, ‘beer’.
The range was on show at the Toer de Geuze this year; a weekend-long celebration of gueuze country, to the west of Brussels, during which several breweries open their doors to the public.
As well as some of the best lambics and gueuze’s in the country, drinkers at the Toer’s cocktail bar could enjoy an immense variety of cocktails like Mojito Kriek, Golden Apple and Cuvée René Deluxe.
It’s a colourful range with a wide choice of tastes and aromas. Mojito Kriek, for example, is made with Kriek Lindemans, white rum, lime, fresh mint and cane sugar syrup.
There’s no need to take a mixology course to prepare these simple but sophisticated drinks, they can be shaken up at home in the blink of an eye.
Golden Apple is simply Apple Lindemans, vodka, cane sugar and apple syrup.
Cuvée René Deluxe is easy to spot from the hazy yellow colour it shares with the Lindemans Oude Gueuze Cuvée René that is its base.
But don’t mix up the two drinks, the cocktail, with its Lindemans Premium Distilled Clear Gin, Cointreau, lemon juice and cane sugar, packs quite a punch.
A stone's throw away from the brewery is the recently opened 'Lio Bar' with its wonderful summer terrace serving all of the Lindemix beer cocktails as well as the Lindemans gins, should you fancy a gin and tonic. If you want try Lindemix'ing in the comfort of your own home you can download the complete cocktail recipe book.
"We brew our lambic from October until early spring depending on the outside temperature,” Geert Lindemans, the brewer, explains. "In late spring and throughout the summer the air does not cool down enough for our purposes."
"This exposes our lambic beers to undesirable influences and we can’t afford to run that risk. After all, genuine lambic beers can only develop their layered, rich taste thanks to the spontaneous fermentation."
"We respect tradition and allow nature to do her work under the best possible conditions.”
The brewing magic of spontaneous fermentation takes place when hot wort is poured into an open cooling basin, or koelschip.
As the wort cools down, atmospheric yeasts (from the brettanomyces family) land in the basin, kicking off spontaneous or wild fermentation. The beer is then transferred to wooden foeders where it continues to ferment.
On the Toer de Geuze, beer lovers got the opportunity to blend lambics of various vintages. Mixed by these amateur geuzestekers, these lambics continue to ferment in the bottle before emerging as sparkling gueuze.
Lindemans beers were served to visitors from an improvised terrace at the brewery, where beer lovers were enticed by the Lindemans Oude Gueuze and Oude Kriek Cuvée René.
Both of these lambic beers have similarities to wine.
They ferment and mature in the same way and their taste development is also comparable, evolving in the bottle for years after they’re sold.
Just try a young kriek and then an old one and straight away you’ll experience the effect of years of maturation on the beer.
Lindemans has had considerable success with its popular lambic fruit beers, Pecheresse, Framboise, Apple and Kriek. But they have also been moving towards the other end of the taste spectrum with the launch of a range of lambic Botanicals.
Lindemans SpontanBasil, developed in collaboration with Danish beer architect Mikkeler, pairs lambic with basil. Lindemans BlossomGueuze is produced with added elderflower.
Herb-enriched lambic beers like these are finding their way into gastronomy. Not only do these sour aperitif beers stimulate the appetite, they are also an excellent and affordable alternative to wine.
“We plan to surprise our customers from time to time with our new fruit and herb beers,” CEO Dirk Lindemans explains. “But they are all based on lambic. After all, we are a lambic brewery. Lambic has always formed part of our DNA. We stay true to tradition but this does not stop us from interpreting lambic in a creative way.”
Lindemans Premium Distilled Clear and Red Gins are further examples of this type of innovation. And lovers of gastronomy will be sharpening their taste buds to test out this new innovation.
B-1602 Vlezenbeek (Sint-Pieters-Leeuw)