Straight (Unblended) Lambic Reviews
Straight lambics are single-batch, uncarbonated Belgian sour ales, also called unblended lambics; blended lambics are gueuzes. Made with unmalted wheat, pilsner malt and aged hops—aging removes flavor, leaving only hops’ preservative qualities—the beer is spontaneously fermented outdoors, allowing microbiota naturally occurring in Belgium’s Senne Valley to work its magic (versions made elsewhere use yeast intended to replicate the effects of spontaneous fermentation). Aromas blend sour, acidic qualities with the style’s classic “barnyard” smell; flavors are sour, fruity and oaky. Young versions usually hit a single sour note, as the desired complex characteristics of the Brettanomyces yeast commonly featured in these brews typically require at least a year to develop. Lambics’ mouthfeels are generally light but very tart, and because the beers are uncarbonated, their body seems juicelike. ABVs fall in the 5 to 6 percent range.
Pair: Lambics were historically crafted on rural expanses, and they pair excellently with farmhouse fare. Their tang complements roast chicken much like a citrus sauce does, and the beers’ earthy barnyard essence makes them natural matches for a salad of tossed fresh veggies.