Monday, 25 November 2013

Beer of the week: Tilquin Quetsche

The Moeder Lambic bars are a must for any beer lover visiting Brussels. The draught list alone is a who's who of Belgian brewing but it's the bottle list filled with rare Gueuze and other bottles that pulls us back every time. They specialise in serving these sour, spontaneously fermented beers of Belgium whose popularity has boomed of late. Each of the Gueuze producers of Belgium reminds me of a member of an eccentric family, each with their distinct character, strengths and foibles. If Cantillon is solid father figure and Drie Fontainen the cool uncle, the young Tilquin is the precocious teenager. Founded in 2009, by Pierre Tilquin, the newest member of the family is currently a blender rather than a brewer of Lambics. But after stints at the aforementioned Cantillon and Drie Fontainen he certainly deserves his place on the family tree.

Cherries and raspberries are the fruits traditionally fermented with lambics to create kriek and framboise. But any fruit can be added at the secondary fermentation stage, Cantillon creating the most celebrated of these with apricot Fou' Foune and rhubarb Zwanze.

Moeder Lambic had sold out of these rarities when we visited after the Brussels Beer festival this year but they did have another treat available. Tilquin's Quetsche is fermented with plums and, in my opinion, it's a triumph.

It's an attractive hazy rusty plum colour with small foamy head. Poured from 75ml bottle from the traditional basket, it has a sherbety, red fruit aroma with a touch of plum and it pours with a languid viscous quality.

It's a gorgeously smooth and balanced lambic, the plums giving an illusion of sweetness which tricks you into balancing the sourness but without any sugar. There isn't a lot of bitterness which compared to other lambic but you can almost taste the skin and flesh of the plum. This is a very different type of fruit lambic, clever, silky and infinitely drinkable.

You can buy Tilquin Quetsche from beer merchants when it's available for £9.99 for a 37.5cl bottle. 

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