Breweries "Visited"

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Yes I Can(tillon)

Beer #663 Sampler  / Brasserie Cantillon, Brussels, Belgium
Previously from this brewery: a Lambic, a Gueuze, and a Gueuze

I wrote this a while back, but haven't published yet.  So here we go:

After we dropped the touring bikes off, we reclaimed our luggage and took the train back to Brussels.  Our cycling tour was over, but not officially over until we made a stop at Cantillon, a 113 year old brewery not far from the center of Brussels.  So cool to meet the people there and see that while the world changes around them, they have no intention of changing absolutely anything.  They just want to produce the best beer they can, made in a traditional style.  And, let me tell you, mission accomplished.  If you ever get a chance to order a Cantillon, do it. Please. I 100% guarantee you won't be sorry. In addition to being able to drink Westy 12 from Sint Sixtus, the visit to Cantillon was one of the reasons I wanted to go on this trip.
If only I could get one of these barrels in my carry-on bag....
After touring their ancient machinery and crawling around in the attic (see above) where they age beer, I found myself at the best point of any brewery tour: the tasting room.
Lunch is served!
In addition to trying a young spontaneously fermented lambic and a gueuze (which  is a blend of young and old lambics), I was able to sample most everything else they had available in bottles, as the Beercycling group purchased one of literally everything they had.  Some of the more rare and unusual beers sampled were:
Saint Lamvinus - a lambic made with Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes and aged in Bordeaux barrels. An absolutely unbelievable blend of tart fruit, grapes, and oak
Vigneronne - a lambic made with white Muscat grapes from Italy and barrel aged.  Funky with some grape sweetness, this may have been my favorite all day.
Zwanze Day 2012 - a rare lambic brewed for a special simultaneous release at a limited number of bars around the world.  The 2012 version was a lambic brewed with rhubarb, which created a really unusual but pleasant tart taste that I loved.  First time I ever had rhubarb in my beer.

Those are the three beers in order on the right in the photo, for the life of me I can't remember what was on the far left.  Had to be a one off beer that they produced for something special, as it didn't have a label on the bottle.  There were others sampled as well, but at some point you just have to stop taking notes and pictures and sit back and appreciate one of the great destinations in the entire beer world.  And the best part of visiting Cantillon in person?  The bottles were something like 8 Euro, which is less than $12.  Good luck finding some of the rarest and most coveted beers in the world for $12 at your local bar.  And yes, three bottles came home in my suitcase.....

Thing to Think About Today:
In the spirit of Cant(illon), I'm giving you some Can't.  As in, Can't Take My Eyes Off of You.

"You're just too good to be true...."

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