The Official Alister & Paine Beer Review
I wouldn’t call myself a beer snob—but when it comes to this hoppy beverage I’d say I’ve got some “street cred”. I’ve challenged everything from pilsners to barleywines and everything-in-between. I can claim “beer-pong” championships at universities nationwide and I once traveled to Belgium to study the craft of traditional Trappist ales (check out the Kulminator the next time you’re in Antwerp).
That being said, nothing prepared me for the “fruity” beer many refer to simply as “Lambic”.
Lambic, by definition, is a spontaneous fermented “sour” beer that is exclusive to southwest Brussels. Only this area has the indigenous wild yeasts necessary to ferment these beers–which is why they are among the rarest beers in the world.
According to Merchant du Vin, the original importer of Lindemans to the U.S., “artisanal lambic breweries, such as Lindemans Farm Brewery, make their fruit beers by blending the lambic and fresh fruit before bottling… triggering a third fermentation and promoting a spritzy carbonation that gives the finished beer a champagne-like character.”
Don’t let your machismo get the best of you–this is no girly wine-cooler. Lindemans Lambics are carefully crafted beers, hundreds of years in the making, infused with fruits you can actually taste. This, my friends, is a gentlemen’s beverage (although the ladies at our review loved it, too).
Heeding the advice of one seasoned Lambic drinker we started the tasting with Pomme (Apple) since the Framboise (Raspberry) flavor is said to be the sweetest and, arguably, the most complex.
Pomme (Apple) Lambic: The first thing you notice after opening a bottle of Pomme is the distinct fresh-picked apple aroma. We expected this lambic to be much like the popular ciders we’ve been drinking for the past few years around St. Patty’s day but, surprisingly, it was much lighter and balanced than any of the ciders we’ve tried. The green-apple flavor is subtle by comparison to the other lambics and was perfect with the pepperjack cheeseburgers we served with them.
The Alister & Paine Taste Vote: 3 out of 5
Peche (Peach) Lambic: Peche was easily our favorite Lambic. The flavors were rich, the aroma subtle and not overbearing, and the sprightly taste was refreshing in the 85-degree heat. We complimented the Peche Lambic with tender sliced charcoal-grilled chicken breasts topped with thinly sliced green apples.
The Alister & Paine Taste Vote: 5 out of 5
Framboise (Raspberry) Lambic: Framboise (pronounced “frah(m)-bwahz”) was the strongest lambic across the board. The raspberry flavor was refreshing but the strong taste provided a potency some palates might consider overbearing. This is a serious dessert beer so we served it with rich chocolate-peanut butter bars which, in hindsight, may not have been the best idea. The combination was far too sweet. Our lesson: go with a lighter dessert like crème caramel or vanilla ice cream topped with a raspberry demi-glaze sauce.
The Alister & Paine Taste Vote: 4.5 out of 5
The Final Word: These beers aren’t made for everyone and they’re not every-day beers. Think of them as the luxury watch of the beer industry. You don’t drink Lindemans Lambics just because they’re delicious… but because they’re steeped in rich history and, to this day, are crafted using centuries old techniques dating back to when quality meant reputation and reputation was everything.