Monday, October 22, 2007

Lindemans Pêche Fruit Lambic

For a change of pace, I decided to veer off the beaten path of wheat-based beers and go for a Belgian specialty: the lambic beer. Like certain wines, the style can only be brewed in a certain region to be a true lambic, in this instance the Pajottenland region of Belgium. It uses what's called spontaneous fermentation, or fermentation through wild yeasts in the air, to give it a unique flavor. (The Lambic Beers - caution, pop-ups abound)

The specific lambic I chose is a fruit lambic, Lindemans Pêche (French for peach), described by the Cost Plus World Market employee as "the nectar of the gods," so naturally I had to try it. Lindemans is located right in the heart of the Pajottenland, in the town of Vlezenbeek, near Brussels. It was started in 1809 as a farm, but decided to start more lambic brewing activities in the winter, when there was less farming to do. Their lambic was so popular that by 1930 they ceased all farming to focus on the demand. They released their Framboise fruit lambic fifty years later, and it was so popular that they branched out, releasing their peach lambic, Pecheresse, in 1987. (Lindemans Brewery History)

Now, I think that the Pecheresse and the Pêche are somehow related, but I don't think they are exactly the same beer; the British Beer-Pages gives Pecheresse an ABV of 2.5%, but American BeerAdvocate gives its ABV as 4.0%. Chances are its ABV was beefed-up for the American audience, and I have absolutely no evidence to back that up. However, the brewery can claim that it brews one of the 5 best beers in the world: Lindemans Kriek, a cherry lambic; it was so designated by the late great beer hunter, Michael Jackson. (Beer-Pages Lindemans Fruit Lambics, BeerAdvocate: Lindemans Pêche, Lindemans Brewery History)

Here are the stats:

Lindemans Pêche Fruit Lambic
BREWERY: Brouwerij Lindemans, Vlezenbeek, Belgium
ABV: 4%
FOODS TO PAIR WITH: Peach Melba, peaches in brandy, pear tarts, salad Nicoise, sorbet, egg rolls, peach cobbler, Waldorf salad, haroses, free-run chicken crepes, Belgian waffles
AWARDS: 1994-1995 World Beer Championships Gold Medal Award Winner

The first-brewed and awards came from Lindemans Brewery history, the food pairing and temperature suggestion came from Merchant du Vin's Pêche webpage (they're the American importers), and the ABV is from BeerAdvocate's Lindemans Pêche page until I can get a more accurate source.

The cool thing about this beer, among many things, is its wine bottle-like appearance, from its dark-green bottle to its cork and extreme concave bottle bottom. That's right, it has a cork! Let's see your bottle of Bud do this:

Many of this beer's characteristics reminded me of hefeweizen. Its color is a cloudy yellow-orange color and its head is a nice foamy white. It even has an aroma of peaches and wheat similar to a Franziskaner (but with citrus). But all that wheat disappears in the taste, which is basically fermented peach juice with carbonation and a hint of grain. My wife described it as "apple juice." It was a fantastic taste that was devoid of any overly-agressive hoppiness or bitterness, and it went down smooth. My only gripe has to do with any sweet drink I encounter: it leaves a sticky residue in my mouth due to the sweetness factor.

This beer certainly is a great nectar. It seems to be very well distributed in the states, so pick one up, or one of its cousins, at a store nearby.

Op uw gezondheid!

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