Thursday, October 14, 2010

Oshkosh Beer of the Week: Lindemans Framboise Lambic

After yesterday’s post about the Lambics that Nick and Michelle Wilinksi are brewing, I thought it might be a good time to check out the only authentic Lambic that’s available for purchase in Oshkosh. Lindemans Framboise Lambic can be found at Festival Foods in Oshkosh and if you’ve never experienced a Lambic before, this would be a good one to start with. The Lindemans farm brewery, in the Flanders region of Belgium, brews nothing but Lambics, employing airborne yeast to create rustic ales that are utterly unique. These beers may not be for every palate, but every palate ought to taste one at least once.

Lindemans Framboise Lambic is made from several vintages of oak-aged Lambics that are blended and then dosed with a heavy-handed addition of raspberries. The resultant beer is a sprawl of wild flavors that are surprisingly approachable. The beer pours to a dense, bruised red with the aroma of juicy raspberries immediately bursting to the fore. If you’re not a fan of raspberries, don’t even bother with this one. The hugely tart and sweet flavor of the fruit is inescapable and absolutely dominates the beer. But under that blanket of raspberries you can still detect a swarm of the acidic, edgy flavors of the Lambic base dancing around. That’s where the true interest of this beer resides for me. Those earthy flavors, that some aptly describe as “barnyard”, are easy to miss if you get hung up on the fruit, but if you make the effort to dig a little deeper you’ll taste things in this beer you didn’t even know you liked. Another aspect of this beer that always strikes me is how cleanly it finishes. It’s the last thing you’d expect from something that starts so thick, creamy and sweet. If it finished any other way the beer would be deadening and cloying, instead it ends up being - as the Belgian’s say - quite digestible. All the same, you probably aren’t going to want to drink a lot of this. After 10 ounces or so, the richness of this beer is going to catch up with you. So before you uncork that $9.99 bottle, find someone to share it with. It’s perfect as either an aperitif or as a dessert, but if you wind up really not caring for it, find a hearty stout or any lightly hopped ale and give blending a shot. You might just create the best beer nobody else has ever had.

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