Cuvée René - Brouwerij Lindemans, Vlezenbeek
Gueuze is a style of beer I've only recently started to appreciate. I've had just about the entire Lindemans line up and I've always enjoyed the intense fruit spiked Kriek and Framboise as a dessert beer, but I never bothered to pick up a bottle of their Gueuze. Cuvée René is Lindemans base Lambic sour that has been aged and blended back with younger Lambics. After a recent trip to Belgium, where I found I had an affinity for the style, I found my self craving a nicely chilled bottle of Gueuze and decided to give Lindemans a try. There aren't many options as far as Gueuze goes in my neck of the woods, so I'm hoping it's one I can keep going back to when I want to reminisce about Belgium.
Cuvée René pours a warm golden straw color and has a slightly hazy complexion. There's a nice bright white head on top of this beer but it quickly fizzles out before you're ready to take your first sip. The aroma coming up from the glass is funky and sour with a distinctly moldy lemon peel quality. Mold kept coming to mind as I drank this beer, and I don't mean that in a bad way. The musty farmhouse nature of this beer just conjures of images of mold... That being said, this beer smells great, and it tastes even better.
The sour and funky Gueuze flavor is something that took me a little while to get used to. It's essentially a naked Kriek, and that's all I could think of when I first drank this style... why would I want to drink this if it just tastes like it's missing cherries and I know I like the version with cherries. After half a bottle or so my perspective changed as I was able to pick up on some of the more subtle flavors in the Gueuze. There's lemon peel and green apple, musty grains and a sweaty farmhouse. Almost all of that is lost when you spike a young Lambic with a ton of cherries or strawberries.
The Cuvée René hits your palate and tastes quite sour, but not enough to make you pucker up. It's complex, with subtle hints of sour lemon, tart apple and sweet orange. It's a vivid blend of flavors and something that probably won't appeal to most drinkers of Lindemans other offerings. I really enjoyed this Gueuze, but found it a little more rough around the edges than other Gueuze beers I've had. I'd definitely recommend this beer to anyone looking to try a Gueuze and I'll gladly pick up another bottle or two in the future.