Brasserie Cantillon's Rose De Gambrinus
Brewer: Brasserie Cantillon
Cantillon is a sour beer fan's dream, but if they were based in the states they would be an OSHA nightmare. Jean Van Roy is a third generation brewer and blender at Cantillon and it shows in his equipment. The brewery is essentially a functioning museum with wheels and belts that look like they're begging to remove figures and vast stores of wooden barrels covered with dust and spider webs.
The setup is one of deeply cunning neglect. Since wild yeast and bacteria find a natural home in the wooden barrels and rafters the infrastructure of the Cantillon building is practically an ingredient itself. Van Roy pitches no yeast into his beers allowing them to spontaneously fermented in a coolship, a shallow vessel that looks like a copper kiddy pool. Since the coolship relies on the nighttime air to chill the freshly boiled beer they are limited by the seasons in how often they can brew.
All of Cantillon's beers are known as lambic beers, named after the Lambeek region, but sharing a recipe based on raw wheat, aged hops and spontaneous fermentation. Different vintages of the base lambic are blended to produced gueuze or are combined with a fruit in the barrel for added flavor. The bright red Rose De Gambrinus is our favorite and it's brewed with raspberries in the style of a framboise. The flavor of the raspberries adds a fruity layer on top of the funky acidity of base lambic for one of the most perfect flavors we've ever tasted.
Other standouts from Cantillon: Kriek, Oude Gueuze, Grand Cru Bruocsella, Fou' Foune, Saint Lamvinous - you really can't go wrong with any of their beers.