St Louis Gueuze Fond Tradition

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Ah, gueuze!  The good old Brussels champagne--a strange beast made by mixing young and old lambics in the bottle for a secondary fermentation.  This, my friends, is an unflavored, unfiltered lambic, and sampling one is often a rather interesting experience.  A lambic, for those who are unaware of this style, is a spontaneously fermented beer, exposed to the wild yeasts, bacteria, and other airborn flora and fauna of the brewery. 

As I've mentioned in the past, I am not always fond of sour flavors, though this is something I've been trying to remedy through repeated, traumatic exposure.  Hence I jumped at the opportunity to taste the St Louis Gueuze Fond Tradition from Von Honsebrouck.  Like many gueuze producers, St Louis is actually a blender of lambics brewed by other breweries, and I think they do a pretty fair job.  The Fond Tradition pours a cloudy, transluscent gold with a thin head made up of large bubbles.  Tiny flakes can be seen swimming in the beer.  My guess is they're flakes of yeast, but who knows?

The olfactory experience of a gueuze can be a bit off-putting.  This one didn't have as much of the old cheese smell I've associated with this style in the past, but had plenty of sour apple, sour yeast, and a sort of meaty tartness.  The taste reminds me of apple cider, though the apple flavors do not come out on the tongue as much as they do in the nose.  There's a sparkly effervescence to the beer and a kombucha-like funk to it.  It's still rather drinkable, and I suspect it would go quite nicely with a strong meat dish or some pungent cheeses.

I'm not familiar enough with this style to rate this beer, I don't think.  But I'd love to hear your experiences with gueuze.  What brand did you try?  How was it?  What dishes would you recommend it be consumed with?  Let us know!

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