In search of Gueuze

At the Cantillon brewery

It’s been 5 months since my last post – a case of too much time eating and not enough time writing about it (though that is, of course, the best way round…). One trip that definitely deserves a belated mention is a trip we took to Belgium last November. Friends of ours had returned from a holiday on America’s West coast raving about sours. As sours are based on the Belgian lambic method and Belgium is a hell of a lot closer than the US, we decided to spend a long weekend in search of Gueuze. These are the beer tasting notes from the trip.

As you can tell from the list, we each have different allegiances when it comes to beer: for Dan the trip was all about the Gueuze, while Becs was on the lookout for unsweetened kriek. Justin loves dry and hoppy American style IPA, so if any of the above appeal to you, they’re the names to look out for below. I just like variety…

Thurs 1st November 2012 –

Visit to ‘t Brugs Beertje beer café, Brugge


Houblon Chouffe (on tap) – Hoppy, grapefruit bitterness, warming

Fort Lapin (8%) – Smells like peaches and viognier. Tastes clean but slightly toasted. Gets better when fizz wears off a bit.

Tsjeeses Reserva (10%) – Amazing! Rich and banana/peachy. Sourdough bread, a bit of caramel, lemon pith.

Brasserie de la Senne, Taras Boulba (4.5%) – Nice, malty, clean, very hoppy. Good session beer and nice classy glass.


Brugge Le Zot (on tap) – Thinner, fizzy, malty

Houblon Chouffe (see above)

Igress at Flamma (7%) – Smooth and clean, but thick and strong. Lovely and dry from the 5 hops.

Bush (12%) – served in a crackle glass. Very strong, thick and rich, but really hoppy and dry. Intense.

Viven IPA (8%) – Very hoppy but thick and intense. A bit peachy, creamy and spikey.


Cantillon Gueuze (5%) – Cider dryness, undertone of oak.

Fonteinen Oude Gueuze vintage (6%) – Amazing, slightly sour, wine-like, slightly oaked and cidery.

Oude Gueuze Tilquin (6.4%) – Flavours of whisky, very oaky, a bit piney, like lime pith. Sour, but balanced with bitterness.

Citra tripel hopped Duvel (9.5%) – Smells like muscat or gewurz. Intense elderflower, very strong and concentrated. Peachy.


Hanssens Oude Kriek (6%) – Very sour, scrumpy cider flavours. Smells like my Granma’s utility room!

Hanssens Oude Kriek (as above)

Hanssens Oudbeitje (6%) – Super sour, but a dry finish of wild strawberries.


Friday 2nd November –

Visit to De Halve Maan brewery in Brugge

At De Halve Maan brewery


Straffe Hendrik (11%) – Rich dark Quadrupel, mustard undertone, coffee-like


Saturday 3rd November –

Visit to Cantillon brewery in Brussels

Cantillon canister  Cantillon vintage bottles


Cantillon Lambic – Like a grapefruit cider: Clean, not too sour, but really grapefruity bitterness.

Cantillon Kriek – Tastes like plums stewed with spices, but completely unsweetened. Wild cherry plums and cinnamon.

Cantillon Rose Gambrinus – Smells very herbal and earthy, almost tomatoey. Fantastic deep savoury raspberry flavour. You can almost taste the seeds.


Visit to Moeder Lambic bar in Brussels

Drinking gueuze at Moeder Lambic  Beer snacks at Moeder Lambic


Brasserie de la Senne – Only wrote own the name of the brewery and not the beer! Dark, not too thick, with flavours of bitter coffee and liquorice.

Brew Fist ,24k Gold – Lovely! Slightly sour lambic nose, but much smoother finish.

Cantillon Gueuze ‘St Gilloise’ (dry hopped) – lovely grapefruit juice flavours.


Hop Ruiter Deschelde – Smells like fruit yoghurt, tastes fresh. Fruity, peachy, golden beer.

Hop Harvest 2012 – Good standard hoppy beer.

Der Ranke, Goldenberg – Peach yoghurt, rich and sweet, well balanced.


Cantillon Kriek 2009 ‘Lou Pepe’ – Slightly less fruity than the first kriek, but deep, rich and sour.

Cantillon Gueuze ‘St Gilloise’ (dry hopped) – lovely grapefruit juice flavours.

Cuvee Ranke – Apple juice and grapefruit juice. Not as sour as the Cantillon. Nice hoppy finish.


Der Franke Kriek – a bit fizzier and less intensely flavoured than the Cantillon.


Return to ‘t Brugs Beertje beer café, Brugge


Honig Beer (Bio) – tastes a bit like germolene, but nice.

Gueuze Giradin 1882 (black label) – Very dry and sour, good grapefruit flavour but also some bitter hops.


Brasserie de la Senne, Schiven IPA – Delicious! Very well balanced. Best label of the weekend.

B de la S, Jambe de Bois – Good drinkable beer.


Smisje Natur – Very dry, hoppy and zingy. Very heady.

Viven porter – Very smoky and dark, but not disappointing. Liquorice and double crack coffee.

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