December 22, 2020
a long day selling gift packs to Christmas shoppers, Davin suggested I bring home a bottle of Lindemans Faro, which we just got back on the shelves. I had seen his video review of the beer, and his enthusiasm made me want to try it – this was the perfect moment to do so.
a bit about beer, but I am no expert, that I will easily admit. The world of beer is fascinating and limitless, which I love. I don’t exaggerate when I say that I learn new things every day – a quick look around the shop, a quick Google of a beer type or brewery will teach me more. One of the things I wish I knew a lot more about is Belgian beers and German beers. Being French, one could assume I would know a lot more than I do about these beers, as they are closer to my motherland than to my adopted country, and as the beer scene in France is still very more about these traditional beers… Actually, I really only got interested in beer when I moved to England. So, no such luck.
beers have always fascinated me. They’re like the funky old relative of all the beers we’ve got now – being one of the oldest types of beer, they’ve been around of centuries, so it is fair to say that everything else somehow stems from it. And when beer can be so serious and scientific, I love that lambics are more of a wild experiment.
things short and simple, yeast is always added to regular beer after a mix of water, grain and hops has boiled, and it goes to ferment in a sealed fermentation vat at the right temperature. Lambics don’t bother with that – this mix of water, grains and hops is boiled, and then left to cool down in a shallow and flat pan. The beer is exposed to the open air, and is then becoming a right feast for all the micro organisms in their air, wild yeast, bacteria, etc. No careful addition of a specially selected yeast! Nature is doing the job. Because of this, lambics did get a bit of a reputation, sometimes considered cheap, dirty, “barnyard” (to me, nothing wrong with something being “barnyard”). They were also for a moment considered too fruity and syrupy – some lambics are fermented with fruits, famously the kriek with cherries, framboise with raspberries, cassis with blackcurrant, and even more. The truth is that lambics are great beers and a great part of beer history – they’re just not to everybody’s taste, and that’s fine as well. Though I do believe anybody who enjoys beer should try them at least once.
Lindemans Faro was glorious. It was funky, sweet, slightly sparkling, and its little taste of Normandy cider was both enjoyable and comforting. The particularity of faro lambics is that brown sugar is added to them, and the beer is then pasteurised so it doesn’t ferment any more, leaving plenty of sugar in the beer. Originally it was a low-alcohol, cheap beer, as it was made using a blend of lambic beer and a very light, sweeter beer. It is neither particularly cheap nor very light anymore, and is just a lovely type of lambic, sweet and fruity, less sour than the famous Gueuze but still with a great characteristic tartness.
was part of our advent calendar this year, and a few weeks ago a lovely gentleman came to the shop and bought a few bottles, telling me he had one from the calendar and loved it even though he thought he wouldn’t. Now that makes me happy.
February 18, 2021
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