Saturday, February 9, 2013

Gueuzerie Tilquin - Oude Gueuze Tilquin à L'Ancienne

The first gueuze I ever tried was Drie Fonteinen's Oude Gueuze. I had heard amazing things about it, but the smell caught me completely off guard. To me, it was like gym socks mixed with mildew and wet hay. It was funky as hell and I was completely unprepared. But as I eased into the beer, I started to like it. A lot. Even the smell started to win me over, and as it warmed I started to get so much more from it than that initial blast of funk. By the end of the beer, I had fallen for the style.

For those who aren't familiar with the gueuze style, it's a blend of vintage lambic beers. Most gueuze blenders take 1 year old, 2 year old, and 3 year old lambics and blend them together, creating a gueuze. Gueuzerie Tilquin is unique (to me, at least) in that they don't blend their own lambics together. Instead, they buy beer from highly established Belgian breweries like Cantillon, Lindemans, Girardin and Boon and blend different vintages of those together to create a sort of "super-gueuze." The founder of Gueuzerie Tilquin, Pierre Tilquin, has worked for both Cantillon and Drie Fonteinen, so he knows a thing or two about the gueuze business. His first gueuze to come this way, Oude Gueuze Tilquin à L'Ancienne, hit bottleshops around here a few months ago and rocketed up the Top 250 list. At #162, here's Oude Gueuze Tilquin à L'Ancienne.

Oude Gueuze Tilquin à L'Ancienne pours a slightly hazy apple cider color with a thin, bone white head. The smell was absolutely incredible, with notes of tart green apple, lemon curd, overripe d'anjou pear, apple pie filling, rhubarb, some faint cedar and some barnyard funk. This wasn't the funk bomb that Drie Fonteinen Oude Gueuze can be, but it has enough to remind you you're smelling a gueuze.

The taste opens with a great vinegary snap of tartness, followed by flavors of green apples and sour green grapes. There's a brief hint of grain in the middle before a drying and tart finish that leave you wanting a lot, lot more. The mouthfeel is nice and light and there's some lively carbonation going on without detracting from the taste. Pierre Tilquin knows what he's doing. This is a fantastic gueuze. If it's still around in shops near you, get it now.

Final Grade: A+

Top 250 Beers Tasted: 109

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