Lambic Fruit Beer – Belgian: Cantillon Rosé De Gambrinus

This mid-week beer is from the Highly Rated Belgian Brewery Cantillon. Given the little bit of warmer Spring weather we’ve been having, this beer has been perfect! I’ve always enjoyed Sour beers and IPA’s in hot weather, and as Cantillon know how to make a good sour I chose this particular one.

Let’s start with Cantillon‘s description of the beer:

Kriek certainly already existed in the beginning of the 19th century. It is, however, more difficult to determine when the Framboise-Lambic appeared in the Brussels pubs.
Rosé de Gambrinus

Anyway, the beer certainly was available in the beginning of the 20th century. Paul Cantillon mentions a higher number of bottles of Framboise than of Kriek in his inventory for 1909-1910. During the First World War, the fruit beers disappear from the inventory. From 1922 on, the Kriek will be produced again on a regular basis. As for the Framboise, it was produced for a short time in the thirties and disappeared from the inventory afterwards.

In 1973, a friend of mine, Willy Gigounon, deliverded 150 kgs of raspberries at the brewery. The production of raspberry beers started again 40 years later.

I was preparing a barrel of raspberry beer. The beer coming out of the small hole in the middle of the stave was marvelous.
Rosé de Gambrinus

“It has the colour of onion skin”, said a voice behind me.
It was Raymond Coumans.
He was admiring the colour of the raspberry lambic reflecting in the red copper of the buckets used to empty the barrels. At that time (1986), “Raspberry-Lambic” already was synonymous with a sweet, artificially flavoured beer. This is why we decided to distinguish our beer from the other raspberry beers. Raymond proposed to call it a rosé, dedicated not to Bacchus but to Gambrinus.

The process to make this beer is identical to the one to make Kriek. When young, the Rosé de Gambrinus will still present its full fruity taste. Later on, the lambic taste will become dominant at the expense of the fruit taste.

A very long description from Cantillon, but I like how it gives you the History of the Beer as well as a little bit about the Brewery. Cantillon always seem to leave you to taste and experience the beer yourself, as Lambic doesn’t really taste the same as a lot of other styles, but there’s the hint at Raspberry flavours in the description. I think the same information could come across in a shorter description for lazy readers, but this isn’t a beer I’d recommend for first time beer drinkers.

The recipe for this one is quite simple, but it’s the method that makes this beer taste how it does. The Malts in this beer are 2-Row and Malted Wheat. After this, Three year old dried Styrian Golding hops are used. It is then sent to a room in the brewery to ferment in the open air in a Coolship, meaning it gets infected with natural yeasts and bacteria in the Brussels air. After this, it’s aged in Barrels for two years, and then Raspberries are added for a further year. This means all of the sugar is fermented out of the beer, making it Sour and Tart.

When you pour this beer, it’s a deep red colour with a large pink head which dissipates quickly until a thin ring around the edges of the glass is left. On the nose, a huge wave of Raspberries, a little bit of wheat and barley and some sour Belgian Funk notes. When you taste this beer, you need to bear in mind all of the sugar has been fermented out. Just like the initial taste, a big hit of Sour Raspberries, followed by some sour and tart Brett (Belgian Funk) notes finishing with some Wheat and Malted Barley and Bready Notes. The beer is Medium Bodied and quite Highly Carbonated. It finishes like a dry white wine. I really do recommend this beer, especially if Sours are your thing! In good weather they’re most definitely a treat.

You can buy Rosé De Gambrinus in the UK Online at (all in stock at time of writing):

Beer Merchants

Beer Hawk

Beer Here

EST. CALORIES: 150   ABV: 5%