Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Hanssens Lambics are back

Hanssens Lambics are back

2016 Edition
Hanssens Oudbeitje Lambic...$10.99 / 375ml
Strawberry Lambic
Lambic with Natural Strawberries 5.8% alc./vol. Wheat and barley malts Unfiltered, unpasteurized, bottle conditioned
"The strawberries announce themselves in the nose, where they mingle with aromas of earth, sharp cheddar cheese, vanilla, yogurt, and a Riesling-like petrol note. The flavors turn out to be surprising - gentle sweetness quickly followed by fine acidity, and a wonderful fruitiness right through the center." -- Garrett Oliver, The Brewmaster's Table

2016 Edition

Hanssens Oude Gueuze...$17.99 / 750ml
"Hanssens Oude Gueuze has a hazy gold color and an aroma of wet wool, preserved lemons, vanilla, and earth. The palate is sharply tangy and dry, opening up to a marvelously complex display of citrus and damp earth in the center. The finish is miles long and juicily acidic, with a final flourish of fruit. This would be brilliant wit ha good ceviche packed with shrimp and avocado."
--Garrett Oliver, The Brewmaster's Table

Hanssens Oude Kriek...$18.99 / 750ml

"The color is almost heartbreakingly stunning; reds, roses, pinks, and oranges, all at once, like a beautfiul sunset. The aroma opens up with a barnyard gambit, but this quickly dissipates, allowing complex aromatics of cherries, wood, earth, vanilla, and mold to come through... The Finish is long, tart, fruity, and finally drying. An absolute masterpiece."
Garrett Oliver, The Brewmaster's Table, p. 77-78
Each batch of its Kriek offers therefore different aromas and flavors only based on the century old knowledge of the Hanssens family.
After the blending the Kriek (with 70 kg of black Belgian cherries per 600 Lt. barrel) is bottled, corked and stored in the cellar for secondary fermentation at 50o-55oF for over one year.

Hanssens Experimental Cassis Lambic.....$12.99 / 375ml
Belgian Lambic with fresh black currants 6% alc./vol. 
Unfiltered, unpasteurized, bottle conditioned 
Appearance: Deep red with no head and no lace. 
Aroma: Fairly sour with some acidity in the nose and some oak tannins. Black currant is prevalent with some funkiness. 
Flavor: Nice tart sour character with black currant fruitiness to back it up and some oakiness. 
Finish: Finish is clean and dry with some sourness. 
Suggested Food Pairings: Light white meat dishes Dessert

Hanssens Experimental Raspberry Lambic.....$12.99 / 375ml
Belgian Lambic with fresh raspberries 6% alc./vol. 
Unfiltered, unpasteurized, bottle conditioned Appearance: Dark orange with no head. 
Aroma: Aroma is of funk, raspberry, tart dark fruit, vinegar, acidic notes and some oak. 
Flavor: Taste of very tart raspberries and dark fruit, oak, funk, vinegar and acidic notes. 
Finish: Finishes dry with some sourness in the finish. 
Suggested Food Pairings: Light white meat dishes Desserts

"Hanssens Artisanaal is the last independent geuze blender in the whole world. At Hanssens, no beer is actually brewed! Instead, they pursue a profession that was very important in the history of lambic style beers, they are solely blenders of beer.

Lambic beers are famous for being "wild fermented". Instead of adding a special yeast strain to cause fermentation, some brewers in the Senne river valley leave the warm, sweet, unfermented beer (called wort) open to the elements. Wild strains of yeast and other micro organisms will then seed the liquid. Normally when brewing beer, a brewers yeast will be used to turn sugar into alcohol and certain flavor elements of the beer. In these wild beers, yeast and others will turn sugar into alcohol, acid, and a huge variety of flavor chemicals.

Since each batch is different, the beer has to be blended with multiple batches to create a consistent product. Most lambics are created from a mixture of aged sour beer and young, sweeter beer. They are then barrel aged to combine the flavors.

Hanssens takes this a step further, and actually blends batches from different breweries in their area. This used to be a very common practice, but Hanssens is now the last remaining blender. They bring to this endeavor a variety of barrels, some up to one hundred years old, and a passion and a love for the tradition of Geuze and Lambics. They will also add whole fruits to some of their beers, to make even more flavorful blends.

Hanssens Bartholomeus, former major of Dworp, started to brew lambic in 1871, in the previous Sint-Antonius brewery. Documents have proven that he continued to brew, from 1896 onwards, in buildings located in the Vroenenbosstraat, Dworp. These premises are still used." -- importer

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