Lambic beer has a distinct dry cidery feel to it with a slightly sour aftertaste. When drinking it, it is almost like you’re drinking a bubbly wine more so than a standard beer, which makes it a very refreshing drop, but at the same time, an acquired taste. It is only produced in one very small region of the world, west of Brussels in the Flemish area of Pajottenland, Belgium
Lambric is brewed from a mix of approximately 70% barely malt and 30% un-malted wheat and is fermented in timber barrels left open to the air so as to create a spontaneous fermentation as opposed to the very controlled fermentation that is generally used to create most beer. This is where the lambic beer acquires its unique flavor, texture, and bite, as it acquires various bacteria from the barrels and the air.
There are four distinct types of lambic beer; the Lambic (pure), the Gueuze Lambic, the Faro, and the Fruit Lambic.
Pure Lambic is an unblended form of the drink which is, uniquely amongst lambics, uncarbonated. It appears cloudy to the eye, and is very sour. It has usually been aged approximately 3 years.
The Gueuze Lambic is a much more immature beer, blended from one, two, and three year old lambics, and fermented a second time. It’s a fizzy carbonated, very strong tasting, lambric, that hits you first in smell and then in taste, and lingers with its bitter aftertaste long after you have finished it. It can be cellared for up to 10 to 20 years giving it a much more mature taste as it ages.
The Faro is a far more palatable reddish-brown lambic beer with a low-alcohol content (3-4%). Because of the additional brown sugar added during its production it is a sweet beer and is often considered a table beer by the Belgians. Unusually for Belgian beer, Faro usually comes as a draft.
The Fruit Lambic, is by far the most well known of the lambic beers. It comes in any number of fruit flavors from peach to grape to sour cherry, these flavors created from the fruits themselves, or more often in the modern era, from the fruit syrups, being added to the brew at the time of its second fermentation.
Although lambic beer is an acquired taste, the time spent getting to know this beer is well rewarded by its rich and unique history, its wonderful texture in taste, its refreshing quality, and its bitterly pleasant sour aftertaste.