Timmermans Strawberry Lambicus 4% abv.
On a cold winter’s day in England,
thoughts turn to sunnier climes. Sun kissed beaches, exotic destinations, local street food, authentic bars and so on. What put me in the holiday mood was this fruit beer I found when sorting through my beer collection. I am generally of the belief that beer should be made with hops, barley, yeast and water and that further flavourings are not required. Alcopops and those lurid coloured ciders are solely aimed at young people who don’t like the taste of real beer.
Timmermans Strawberry Lambicus is a totally different type of drink. Lambic beers are a Belgian speciality which are fermented using the wild yeasts that occur naturally in the air but are particularly prolific in the part of Belgium around Brussels. Lambic beers are sour beers made with barley and up to 40% wheat. Old hops are used which add little in the way of flavour but are important to preserve the beer. The beers are fermented in barrels for up to a couple of years. The resulting brew is very tart and not to everyone’s taste. In Belgium it has become traditional to add large quantities of fresh fruit, such as cherries or raspberries to such beers. The end resultant is something completely different; a fruity, refreshing but dry drink that would be perfect for a summer’s day.
Strawberry lambicus pours a dark gold colour and has a massive strawberry nose. The taste is surprisingly tart but very fruity. It is not at all sweet but is very refreshing. The taste is overwhelmingly strawberry but not the cloying artificial taste of many “strawberry flavoured” food and drinks. This is the real thing and tastes like home grown strawberries fresh from the allotment.
Belgian fruit beers are also available in a variety of other flavours including Cherry (Kriek), Raspberry (Framboise), Apple, Pumpkin , Peach and Blackcurrant (Cassis). American brewers have also experimented making sour beers with exotic fruit such as guava, kiwi and blueberries.
Timmermans are located at Itterbbek in Belgium and are the world’s oldest Lambic brewery having been brewing since 1702. If you are visiting Belgium the brewery is open to the public and guided tours are available by appointment. There are a number of other Belgian Lambic brewers who also produce fruit beers such as Lindemans, Cantillon and Boon.
Pour yourself a refreshing glass of Timmermans Strawberry Lambicus, start looking though those holiday brochures and chill out to an obscure gem of 1960’s psychedelia in the form of the Los Angeles band Strawberry Alarm Clock who got to No. 1 in the US singles charts back in 1967 with this hippy chant, Incense and Peppermints.