First, let’s get it out of the way. This is a $20 bottle of beer. I received this as a gift from someone who’s aware of my ever-expanding habit into exotic Belgian brews. This Gueuze fits the bill.
The last time I tried something from the Bruery in Orange County, it was their Strong Pale Ale and it was awesome. This brew is a blend of different beers and lambics, then stored in Chardonnay casks for awhile before being bottled. The style is traditionally aged again in the bottle before drinking, and with hindsight, I would have let it sit for another year or so…though there’s no way in heck I could do that.
I poured this into a tulip and noticed the lack of head or carbonation. It was a bit cloudy blonde in color and had some noticeable yeast strains floating around on top. Woops, didn’t pour it slow enough!
The aroma certainly drifted towards a barnyardy and wet hay scent, but it wasn’t a giant pop of smell like some beers I’ve had recently.
The taste is very sour and very tart. It’s got a big, complex mouth feel, and I immediately said “this is a sipping beer!” as it’s an intense style that wouldn’t play well to chugging. The Rueuze leaves a very dry, minerally tongue (as most Gueuzes do) and I found it to be quite abrasive actually. Some sours are perfect for beginners….this is not one of them. I also tasted an abundance of lemonade and oak essence, but somehow came back to comparing it to a cognac. Again, there’s a lot going on in the glass.
For anyone used to “regular” beers who thinks a review like this is silly, I urge you to buy a Gueuze (or any other sour) to see what I mean…these are complex beers that will change the way you look at bottles.
Was it worth $20? No. If I had an Andrew Jackson in front of me, I’d most likely grab something else, as though this was intense and interesting, it wasn’t an enjoyable beer to drink.