Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Cool! A lambic grows in Portland.

"I'll have a gueuze, " I said. The waiter had no idea what I was saying. "A what?"

"A grr-zuh," I repeated, much slower this time. A blank stare.

I tried once more."Do you have this goose in stock?" I asked, pointing to Lindemans Cuvee René gueuze on the list. "Oh ya. Be right back."

Gueuze-lambic: spontaneously fermented beer only commercially produced in the Payottenland near Brussels. But ...

It appears that the Portland, Maine brewery Allagash Brewing Company has installed a coolship specifically for what may be the first-ever commercially produced spontaneously fermented lambic in the US. And, Allagash is fermenting that lambic right now.

A coolship is a large, shallow, open fermenter, in which wort is inoculated by organisms that happen to be floating by in the air. After the initial fermentation — which occurred at Allagash in November — the wort is usually racked into wooden barrels. This is a long process and, obviously, fraught with the danger of uncontrolled spoilage.

So, more power to owner Rob Todd and his brewer Jason Perkins. I can't wait — but will have to! Lambic can take two to three years.

I learned of this on Stan Hieronymous' blog, where he embedded this YouTube video of the event. Look closely: I think that's Tom Peters of Monks Café watching and snapping photos.

A gueuze, by the way, is a blend of older and newer lambics — the younger, lively, beer giving the older, still, beer a good sparkle in the bottle.


  1. Hey Tom,

    I think Allagash may be a few years too late as Jolly Pumpkin in Michigan is apparently going to release their lambic, after three years in the cask, early next year.

    All the best and Happy New Year,


  2. Not only is Tom Peters snapping photos, looks like they got him doing real work as well... dry hopping and all!


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