Hello sour beer fans,
It has been a long time since I have done a review on my own. I have taken notes on a few beers that need to be written up, and now that I have some time, I decided to do a new one. Matt asked me a few months back if I would like to start doing pairings. I have been helping to run our family’s restaurants for years, and I know that there is a great relationship between food and beverage. So, from this point forward, I will be pairing any beer I review with something I think can complement, contrast, or both.
My pairing for tonight is inspired by the fact that yesterday was 66 degrees, and tomorrow we are expected to get a snow storm. The beer is from one of my favorite lambic and gueuze blenders, Hanssens Artisanaal, Hanssens Experimental Raspberry. This example was fairly fresh in that it was bottled in March, 2014. I stored it for a few months in a fridge to let any sediment fall and stay on the bottom, and carefully poured the beer into a Spiegelau stemmed pilsner glass. When popping the cork, I could tell it was lightly carbonated, which is not much of a surprise as some of Hanssens beers have fairly low carbonation levels. It poured a light ruby raspberry color, with some peach orange highlights on the edge. The beer was fairly clear and bright, with little head retention. As I let it breath and warm up the strong “Brett” aromas of hay and barnyard popped out. As I brought the glass closer, I could smell light raspberry and seeded fresh fruit, as well as lactic acid and citrus. Hidden at the end were aromas of violets, lilacs and a little bit of brine. As I tasted the framboise, it was very crisp and dry. The flavor is bright with raspberry fruit and tannins, with predominately lactic acidity. Some citrus notes and the faintest bit of acetic acid were also present. The Brettanomyces character in the flavor was mostly present in the finish, starting with wet sour dough, and finishing with distinct animal flavors of mouse and horse, as well as a little sweat.
I paired this beer with a lime mint mojito sorbet, garnished with frozen raspberries, and a sprig of mint. The refreshing and clean mint and ice were an excellent palate cleanser after the funky, sour, Hanssens. Lime is a great complement to raspberries and the frozen raspberries both add color to the dish and kick up the beer’s flavor.
Overall, I was a bit surprised because this framboise was a little crisper and cleaner in flavor than other Hanssens I’ve had. However, Hanssens Experimental Raspberry still had the characteristic traits of Hanssens Oude Gueuze and their other lambics. If you come across one, I suggest it as a must try. Also, try pairing one with salads and fruit, or go in the other direction and pair with lighter chocolate desserts, but save room for a second bottle!
Until next time,