What is it about Lambics?

You there…you. The one who doesn’t like beer.

Yeah, you.

If lagers leave you feeling with a sense of ‘meh’, and porters and stouts make you feel as if you’ve had a drink of mud, let me point you to a type of beer that is on the far end of the beer spectrum where few people venture.

I’m talking about lambics, and if you have not tried one yet, you should it a chance.

There are two things which make lambics unique in the world of beer. One, lambics are fermented the old fashioned way, which is to say instead of introducing yeast manually, the wort is simply left open to the air around it to jump start its fermentation. Out of all of the beers made in the world today, lambics are one of a select few who can make the claim of being closely related to the beers of the pre-Industrial age era.

Second, fruit* is often (but not always) added to the drink. A lot of fruit. It started with cherries, which is sort of the defacto “traditional” fruit beer, but you can find peach, raspberry, currant, and even strawberry editions of lambic out there.

(*Note: sometimes fruit juice is used rather than the fruit itself. Whether brewers think this is a good thing or not often depends upon what they think defines a “traditional” lambic.)

Those lambics that don’t have fruit often end up as Gueze, a type of sour (yes, sour) beer that mixes together a young lambic (less than one year old) with old lambic (older than two years old) and then allowed to bottle ferment, for sometimes as long as twenty(!) years.

Or, if they don’t want to use lambics with fruit, or in gueze, they can make Faro out of it, which is essentially a non-fruited lambic with additional candy sugar added to the beer.

All of the above result in lambics that can either be very sweet, or very sour, or even both. In fact, one of the more popular lambics available in the United States is a brand called Lindemans, which I have dubbed a liquid version of Jolly Ranchers…with alcohol. For the record, I’m not a big fan of Lindemans. They’re not bad, just not my thing. I prefer Oud Beersel for my lambics.

So if you’re not a fan of beer, but have never given lambics a try, you should gather up some courage and a few dollars (as these tend to run a little more expensive than your typical lagers), and give lambics a try. If you don’t like lambics, only then can you truly say “I don’t like beer”.