Cantillon – Iris 5%

Belgian Challenge – Beer 42

I have to confess to being a little wary about trying this beer, lambic beers are certainly an acquired taste and the last Cantillon beer I had tasted, the Lou Pepe, was perhaps a little too much too early for the uninitiated. It was lip pursingly acidic and at the time tasted more like something I’d put on fish and chips..

Nevertheless I have persevered and am gradually finding them more and more enjoyable. The Iris though is worlds apart from the last one being far more like a traditional hoppy bitter beer than it’s stablemate, don’t get me wrong the lambic vinous taste is still there, but in much more of a balanced way making this far easier to drink.

The Cantillon brewery is closely linked to Brussels, a city which has the iris as its symbol. As the name indicates, the “marsh iris” is a plant growing in humid areas. The historical center of Brussels is built on swamps where this flower used to grow abundantly.

Unlike other beers from Cantillon the Iris is not brewed with wheat but is only made with pale ale malt, giving it is amber colour on the pour accompanied by a fluffy head which disperses quickly.

There is a really fruity full bodied and slightly malted flavour to the beer, the acid is there, but is much less pronounced, finally you get that hop finish which is delicious.

Cantillon Iris is also different because of the “cold hopping” technique used in the latter stages.¬†After two years in the barrel, the Iris undergoes a second fresh hopping two weeks before the bottling. A linen bag, filled with hops, is soaked in the beer for two weeks. This gives the beer a more intense savour and makes the smell and the taste more bitter.

All in all a very different experience and one that has given me more confidence to try more lambic, if you fancy trying one I’d recommend going for something like a Mort Subite Gueuze or Oude Gueuze first, but I’d definitely look out for this as it is excellent.

This beer was sourced from BeerRitz, who have a highly respected speciality beer shop in Leeds as well as a mail order service.

You can follow Cantillon on Facebook here.

BeerRitz Bounces Back

For everyone who read this before, or is reading it for the first time now, here’s an update from Zac Avery:

Beerboy BeerRitz update

 

On a day when the Chancellor did the absolute bare minimum to help the struggling beer industry, it was great to actually hear some good news yesterday.

BeerRitz who quote on their website that they are “the longest established online beer shop in the UK” was again open for business!

You may think I am being a little vague by quoting the line above and you’d be right, the reason being that I have never been to the store in Headingley, Leeds, nor have I ordered from their on-line facility as yet and as such I know very little about them other than what I have read. So why, you may ask do I think that is good news?

Well since starting this beer blog I have made (largely through Twitter), many new friends, acquaintances, contacts or even just connections to people I follow out of interest. When the news broke last week that BeerRitz was closing it’s doors, the Twittersphere was alive with chatter universally expressing sadness, regret even grief on hearing the news. The absolute reverse was the case yesterday when it was announced that the doors were again open and BeerRitz was saved, come down and fill your boots! All of these people can’t be wrong, there’s no smoke without fire as they say.

BeerRtz is also the home of Zav Avery, one of the UK’s most respected beer writers and specialist retailers, Zac, from what I can gather was instrumental in the dramatic turnaround (circumstances yet to be disclosed) and I for one salute him and everyone else involved.

I wish BeerRitz the very best of luck and thank them for giving a good two fingered salute to the folks responsible for sticking an extra 10p on my pint yet again.

Give them a try or at least your support by spreading the word, I know I plan to in both ways, as without establishments like these and the people who run them your fridge would be full of cheap supermarket gnats piss…

http://www.beerritz.co.uk/default.asp

Check these links too:

http://hopzine.com/?p=2508http://thebeerboy.blogspot.com/

http://ghostdrinker.blogspot.com/2011/03/were-back.html

http://twitter.com/#!/realalereviews