Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Oudbeitje, You betcha!

I've put a lot of sour things in my mouth.

For example, in summer camp as young lads, we would spend all our money at the canteen on sour warheads and see who could hold the most in their mouth without spitting them out, crying, or suffering from acute organ failure.  Despite burning off the lining of my cheeks and rendering all camp food tasteless (which was for the better), I still have an affinity for sour things.  Chocolate bars are great, but my preferred candy boon are sweet tarts and their ilk.

With the previous anecdote illuminated, it should be no surprise that from my first taste of a lambic, there has always been a special place in my heart and digestive lining for sour beers.  Ironically, I picked this up right after Prof. Beer and I had a discussion about how he feels like a more sour beer is just over the horizon and nothing really has accepted the challenge of his ambitious palate.  Literally twenty-four hours later and boom, this little unassuming and hard to pronounce strawberry lambic (or aardbeinenlambiek) is staring back at me from crowded Dutch style shelves, whispering soured black magic and making my poor, scarred cheek lining glisten with anticipation.

Have you ever been punched in the face?  It really sucks the first time, but after that, it's never as bad as the first time.  That is until you met Mike Tyson and he left you with a shattered jaw and negative three teeth.  I processed Prof. Beer's words as I poured out this strawberry blonde ale.  I smelled its acidic barnyard nose with strawberry buried deep, and I was excited to pucker and smack, but then all thought was washed away in what felt like a tidal wave made of fireworks, if those fireworks were made from the boot of every all-powerful god that smote men like ants.  So yeah, Mike Tyson.

This deceptive strawberry lambic sounds unassuming, but is one of the more powerful lambics I've had.  This is not for the sour faint of heart.  The strawberry is buried deep in the grassy lemon peel/apple vinegar, very similar to Upland's strawberry lambic.  I served it chilled.  You should definitely serve it chilled.  As it warmed up, the flavors opened up, including the sour funk.  Don't get me wrong, I am in love with all these things, but this is sipped, not thrown down like the girlishness attached to its strawberry moniker would make it seem.  I suggest breaking out the champagne flutes with some friends on this one.  Quality, not quantity.

Summer camp taught me a lot about extreme tastes, hazing, and dehydration, which are all things that have helped me survive my career as a formidable drinker, which is exactly how I would describe Hanssen's Artisinal Oudbeitje.  Formidable.

I puckered up and gave it a 4 out 5 heads

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