Monday, November 19, 2012

Brasserie Cantillon - Cantillon Lou Pepe (Framboise)

More often than not, when it comes to getting to try a Cantillon, you need a little luck on your side.The two times I've been lucky enough to try their beers, I just happened to walk into a bottleshop on the day a case came in. Your other options would be either finding it on draft (but finding Cantillon on draft usually entails dropping a significant amount of cash to attend a sour event) or finding a bottle at a bar, which I had yet to do until recently.

Which brings us to this past Tuesday. I was at a bar in Kearny Mesa with a coworker when I happened to notice a case with a Cantillon logo that was sitting on the bar. When I asked the bartender if they were selling any of the bottles, she told me that the bottles were being saved for an event, but she thought there might be a bottle of Cantillon in the fridge. She went to check and, sure enough, emerged with a bottle of Cantillon's 2008 Lou Pepe Framboise, a beer that I'd heard amazing things about but had never even laid eyes on before then. After about two seconds of debating if we should get it or not, we decided to go for it.

Lou Pepe Framboise pours a dense pink color that borders on ruby. A beastly pale pink head wells up in the glass on the pour and takes a while to go down, leaving thick streams of lace down the glass. The raspberries used in the beer are evident the second you smell it. Rich, sweet and jammy, the aroma is absolutely incredible. There's a bit of a tartness present as well that reminded me more of cranberries. As the beer warmed a bit, a dry hay-like funk emerged along with some barrel notes that smelled like cedar. I really wanted to stay and smell this beer for hours.

The taste isn't as sweet as the smell suggests, and opens with a nice tart snap of unripe raspberry skins and cranberries. A lemon tartness with some cherry skins follows with a finish of some faint oak and more unripe raspberries. There's a fantastic dryness to this beer that fills your mouth with every sip without becoming overly sour. It seems like every time I get to try a Cantillon, I leave more and more impressed. This is another fantastic one and I hope to see a lot more of it in the future.

Final Grade: A

Top 100 Beers Tasted: 43

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