Thursday, December 6, 2012

Brasserie Cantillon - Lou Pepe-Kriek

This past weekend, my girlfriend and I attended something I'd been wanting to go to for a few years now: Zwanze Day. This day marks the release of a limited beer from Cantillon called Zwanze. The beer is almost always a draft-only release and only a handful of kegs are sent out to the world. This year, a total of 35 bars worldwide (and 16 bars in the United States) received kegs of Zwanse, all of which were to be tapped on December 1st.  Zwanze Day doesn't happen on the same day every year, but when it does, you can be sure that the gathering of beer geeks will be epic.

Luckily for me, one of the 16 kegs of Zwanze was sent to Toronados right here in San Diego. What I was even more excited about was that Cantillon also sent a keg of their famed Lou Pepe-Kriek. I've been wanting to try this beer for as long as I've been chasing the Top 100 Beers, and this was finally my chance. After struggling through the massive crowd at Toronados, I was finally able to get my hands on a glass. At number 59 on the Top 100 List, here's Lou Pepe-Kriek.

                                                           (The crowd at Zwanze Day)

Lou Pepe-Kriek pours a hazy raspberry color with a thin pink head. In the glass, the haze is so thick that the beer almost looks like raspberry puree. The aroma is full of a rich, tart cherry smell. It didn't knock my socks off as much as Rose de Gambrinus did, but it was still amazing, nonetheless. Notes of vanilla, oak and ripe strawberry were evident as well.

The taste opens with a huge wave of unripe cherries and a tart lactic smack in the mouth. The oak from the barrels was definitely present, as was a note of unripe raspberry and lemon peel. A champagne-like effervescence kept the mouthfeel light and refreshing and left me wanting more and more with every sip. This was just an awesome beer and I'm really glad I got to try it.

Final Grade: A

Top 100 Beers Tasted: 45

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