On this beautiful Independence Day, after basking in the warmth of the Capital sun, your reviewer is now embracing what makes the United States particularly special; its appeal to cosmopolitanism.
With the Tour de France in the background, today's review is written of the ever-so-tasty Grand Cru "Cuvee Rene" from Belgium's Brewery Lindemans (brewery's enthralling history HERE, click "Brewery", and then "History"; it's worth it).
America! Or, at least, Alexandria, VA. With a gorgeous Belgian in our midst!
Grand Cru Cuvee Rene, Gueuze
Brouwerij Lindemans, Belgium
5.5 % ABV
Lindemans is a brewery in Vlezenbeek, a small town in Belgium most notable for Neuhaus Chocolate... and this beer. Cuvee Rene is a Gueuze. Thus, a combination of young and old Lambics. This particular bottle is of 2011 vintage, and some claim that increased age from proper cellaring increases this beer's quality.
An additional quick note to the review's prologue: Many thanks to the worldly friend for not only providing this beer, but for the many pleasant conversations of beer, soccer, aviation, and travel had, and still to be had.
Now, let us begin!
This beer is enjoyably complex -- even before it is opened! To do so requires a two-step process, perhaps unfamiliar to the American craft beer class. 1. Remove cap. 2. Pop cork. Yes, cork, so remember your corkscrew!
As the cork is removed, champagne-like foam rushes to the top and subsequently trickles down the side of the bottle. A sort of slow, dreamy waterfall of alcoholic goodness.
An effervescent rush of spring apple scent engulfs the room. A tremendously effective aroma; your reviewer's palate whets in anticipation.
Poured into the glass, Cuvee Rene is just a bit more yellow than clear with countless bubbles racing upward. A foam head plants itself on the beer's top but quickly settles to little more than a thin layer, like the fall's first dusting of snow.
The aroma continues to provide refreshment. Wild hay pairs with the more dominant fragrant sourness.
Cuvee Rene's flavor profile is mostly delicious fresh-squeezed lemon juice. There's huge tartness, but it is no match for the even more massive, jaw-clenching sourness.
This is a beer that explodes upon sipping. The biting citrus is welcomed and unrestrained. Generous carbonation makes for a snappy body.
While extraordinary, Cuvee Rene is not a flawless beer. There is, for example, a hint of wet dog in the otherwise pleasant aroma. Its lemony taste, magnificently enjoyable, does have some element of over-ripe grapefruit. Flaws, however, number in the few while stellar characteristics are of the many.
The body is thin, but its understatement is the only thing modest of this beer. While of a moderate viscosity, this beer delivers extraordinary flavor that far exceeds its relative lightness.
And while an undeniably sour beer, Cuvee Rene lingers with a remarkable sweetness, reminiscent of the aftertaste that remains from a bag of Skittles.
Such a tremendous beer. Your reviewer is too novice to Gueuze to accurately gauge this one vis-a-vis others of the style. But relative to other beers in general, this is excellent, and absolutely recommended.
Cheers to a friend for recommending and providing this beer. And cheers to all of you on this wonderful holiday!