Belgian beer round-up #6

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August is coming to the end, and it’s a right time to write about beer I enjoyed this summer. It was a plenty of good beer, but for this post I’ve selected most impressive fruit lambics and one well-known witbier.

More lambics and witbiers have been reviewed here and here.

Timmermans Faro Lambic

Timmermans Faro Lambic

0.33L bottle, 4% ABV.

Ingredients: water, apple juice (15.7%), barley malt, wheat, hops, sugar, colouring agent E150 (caramel), antioxidant E300 (ascorbic acid).

Type: Belgian fruit lambic.

Brewed at Timmermans brewery, a part of Anthony Martin group which owns a lot of famous beer brands in Belgium and UK.

Served at  6-8 °С in a tulip glass.

 Timmermans Faro Lambic

Appearance: tea-coloured, opaque with white medium froth.

Nose: sour, notes of apple cider and malt.

Body: medium, sometimes light but rounded in the end, fairly carbonated.

Taste is rather sweeter than nose: sweet apple cider, wheat bread, candies, yeast. Aftertaste brings more sharpness with strong flavours of apple vinegar and fermented bread.

Nice lambic, maybe a bit oversweetened but still refreshing. Funny that I saw apple juice in the list of ingredients at the label while official website told that Timmermans Faro Lambic is flavoured with caramel…

Timmermans Strawberry Lambic

Timmermans Strawberry Lambic

0.33L bottle, 4% ABV.

Ingredients: water, strawberry juice (11.5%), barley malt, wheat, hops, sugar, flavourings, sweetener E950, antioxidant E300.

Type: Belgian fruit lambic.

Brewed at Timmermans brewery, a part of Anthony Martin group which owns a lot of famous beer brands in Belgium and UK.

Served at  6-8 °С in a tulip glass.

Timmermans Strawberry Lambic

Appearance: reddish brown, opaque with pinky medium foam.

Nose: strawberry candies and weak malt undertone.

Body: light and rounded, highly carbonated.

Taste: sweet strawberry jam, strawberry soda, lightly – malt and hops. However a balance between sweetness and wheat acidity is fairly well especially in the end when sweet strawberry flavour turns to fine dry aftertaste.

Timmermans Strawberry Lambic looks like good choice for summer afternoon if you’re not scared of sweetness in beer. Otherwise, you will waste your time and money…

Hoegaarden witbier has been localized in Russia, and since that times we had only awful Hoegaarden imitation in 0.5L bottles. For my pleasure, recently I’ve spotted in Moscow original Hoegaarden witbier in 0.33L bottles with two different label designs. I’ve bought both, and here is my report about it.

Hoegaarden (new label design)

Hoegaarden (new label design)

0.33L bottle, 4.9% ABV.

Ingredients: water, barley malt, hops.

Type: Belgian witbier (wheat beer).

Brewed by Hoegaarden brewery which has been affiliated with international beer company InBev. Before this, Hoegaarden was a small local brewery produced traditional Belgian witbier since XV century.

I don’t see why there is no wheat in the list of ingredients on the bottle’s label. I think that’s an error or something like this…

Served at 4-6 °С in a big tumbler glass.

 Hoegaarden

Appearance: pale yellow, cloudy, with rich white froth.

Nose: wheat bread, malt, orange candies, coriander seeds (very weak).

Body: medium at the start and thicker in the end, a bit hard in the middle, probably because of high carbonization.

Taste is surprisingly well-balanced, malt and yeast sweetness comes to harmony with wheat sharp acidity. On the swallow some dry and unpleasantly hard notes were spotted, and it looks like an after-effect of excessive flavouring use. However, that doesn’t harm aftertaste which remains pleasing and smooth, a bit sweetish because of dominating malt flavour.

Finish is rather worse: inexpressive, unpleasantly sour and with unexpected bitterness in the end.

Hoegaarden (old label design)

 Hoegaarden (old label design)

0.33L bottle, 4.6% ABV.

Ingredients: water, barley malt, wheat, coriander, orange peels, pectin, hops.

Type: Belgian witbier (wheat beer).

Served at 4-6 °С in a big tumbler glass.

Appearance: pale yellow, cloudy, with rich white froth.

Nose: malt, wheat bread, fresh mown grass, curacao liqueur.

Body: light, smooth, well-rounded, with high carbonation.

Taste: refreshing but lightweight. Not so sour, more spices on the swallow as well as bread notes.

Aftertaste: pleasant with delicate hops and coriander.

Definitely original Hoegaarden beer is much better than Russian version. But I can’t say that I get satisfied with Hoegaarden witbier. Both examples lack harmony in taste, both beers has something unpleasant in taste or aftertaste. However, Hoegaarden on tap remains great and probably best witbier in Moscow.

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