Valentines Day. The day we are supposed to share our love for one another and all that carry on. When we are supposed to pretend we like wine so we can share a bottle over dinner and flirtatiously argue about who gets the last drop. But really, Valentines Day is the the perfect excuse to share our love for beer by introducing our significant other to the wonders of the different brews. It's also a great excuse to venture into new territory: lambics and fruit beers.
Lambics are fruit beers made in Belgium. And fruit beers are beers which have had fruit (real fruit, none of this artificial apricot stuff you find in NZ summer ales) added to them during the brewing process. Although this may seem unusual to most ale and lager drinkers, the result of this is that the finished product tastes more like a sweet and sour wine than beer. But beer it is and the best part is the girls love it.
Most New Worlds have a small collection of fruit beers on their shelves, Timmermans is always a hit, but if you really want to set the scene for flirtatious encounters as the evening progresses you will need to visit your closest liquor store for a look at their 750ml ranges.
I was lucky enough to find a very rare 750 ml lambic known as the 2004 Boon Framboise Mariage Parfait. With its pretty pink labelling and pink-brown colouring, what girl could resist?
It smells of sweet and sour raspberries.The flavours are incredibly intense. Raspberries are prominent at the beginning of each mouthful, followed by a lot of fizzy sourness. Mmmm. Although there is a slight alcoholic metallic taste at the end of every gulp, which is not the most pleasant, the sourness ALMOST masks this and you are left with a lingering berry sweetness afterward, which just makes you want more.
The sourness is pretty dominant in this beer, and although I am a fan of sour lambics, this Framboise lambic would benefit from some subtle sweetness to mellow the intensity of the beer. My pick would be to serve this beer (and most framboise beers as they tend to be more sour than most lambics) with a gorgeous chocolate or creamy dessert, where the sourness of the beer would be balanced with the sugary characters of the sweets.
And if you prefer to be alone this valentines, you get the whole bottle to yourself - who needs flirting anyway?
NB: Framboise - Raspberry
Kriek - Cherry
Peche - Peach
Fruits de la foret - Fruits of the Forest
Gueuze/ Geuze - traditional lambic style