Welcome to Brussels and the Pajottenland region.
Kingdoms of wild yeasts and spontaneous fermentations.
A century ago, Brusseleirs drank exclusively gueuze.
This acidic, slightly pungent beer that some could only drink with sugar to reduce the acidity, which was too overwhelming for the most sensitive palates.
American tourists have revitalized the Brussels gueuzeries but owe a lot to Frank Boon and the Van Roy family of the Cantillon brewery who had the patience to wait for them.
Why do some gueuze makers have the title of brasserie and others that of gueuzerie ?
Let's start with the process of making a pig.
A gueuze is produced by blending an old lambic (3 years of aging) with a young lambic (1 year of aging), all refermented in the bottle for several months.
Lambic is a beer made from wheat and barley which is the result of spontaneous fermentation.
The fermentation of spontaneous beers takes place via the addition of dry or wet yeasts to the brew. Spontaneous beers are fermented via the presence of wild yeasts in the ambient air.
Instead of adding a sachet of yeast to the brew, it is bathed overnight in a large copper pool in order to maximize the contact surface between the liquid to be inseminated and the ambient air.
Ultimately, we distinguish between gueuzeries which age lambics from other breweries and breweries which brew, age and assemble their own lambics. Some even do both by producing only part of their lambic needs.
Not everyone is a big fan of sour beers, but gueuze boon is one of the sweetest sour beers and therefore very accessible to ordinary people.
I hope you enjoy it.
Perhaps it will even introduce you to a new, unsuspected universe =D