With origins in Belgium’s Senne Valley, gueuzes are combinations of young and old lambics blended to make them more well-rounded than lambics alone. Made with hops that have been aged to remove their flavor (leaving only their preservative qualities) and some wheat, gueuzes get their sour, slightly fruity and vanilla-tinged flavors from spontaneous fermentation. Brewers expose the unfermented beer to natural yeast and bacteria by exposing it in large, open vats set outdoors; whatever bacteria happens by ferments the brew. The result? An intensely sour, incredibly dry beer that is among the most palate-pleasing experiences in beer. Note that lambics are uncarbonated, but gueuzes, while very soft, are effervescent.
Pair: Given its Belgian origins, it is no surprise these beers pair best with steamed mussels or poached salmon. The beer lightens salty, savory mussels, and salmon is brightened by the beer’s fine carbonation and lemony acidity.