Saturday, August 13, 2005


Belgian Beer: Oude Gueuze

Ok, normally I only drink only one beer at a time. The other night I found an excuse to open three bottles at a time. I did so knowing that I was dealing with the champagnes among beers (no, I am not referring to the new invention by the Buggenhout breweries)- I was in for an evening of Oude Gueuze. I had secured one bottle each of oude gueuzes from Hanssens, Drie Fonteinen and Oud Beersel. The latter is now out of business- all the gueuzes were bottled in 2003 or early 2004.

My suspicion was that of all beers these were the least likely to go flat after a few hours. I was not disappointed. Mostly due to what was available at the Dorstvlegel beer store in Antwerpen they were all of (almost) the same "vintage"- a fact I was quite content with as I started my tasting session, since these are prime examples of beers that develop over time.

All the three are dark golden in colour, pouring with a nice head. Of the three Hanssens had the least persistent head. Hanssens also distinguished itself as not quite as dry as the other two, maybe the colour was even a touch darker as well.

Whereas Hanssens displayed a complex fruitiness with a hint of melon, the oude gueuze from Oud Beersel had a marked green apples taste. The latter also had a very dry finish.

Dry bitterness was a defining trait in the other entry from the town of Beersel, namely the highly esteemed Drie Fonteinen oude gueuze. I would have to say that the hints of citrus, apricots and oaky vanilla (without being overpowering) made the latter slightly more complex.

For me the comparative tasting shed more light over the unique characteristics of these rare beers. Hopefully, there is still a bit left of my teeth's enamel for another gueuze tasting in the future.

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