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Cantillon Blåbær Lambik

Rating: 4.4

A very special beer now, this one was my fourth Cantillon beer and it’s easily the rarest from them I’ve tried to date, perhaps even the rarest beer I’ve tried from any one actually. This beer is a fruit lambic from the brewery that is brewed with blueberries provided by the owner of the Ølbutikken bottle shop in Copenhagen. Initially released as a limited, 50 bottle run back in 2005 and only available from Ølbutikken, the bottle I’ll be reviewing is a 2015 Vintage which also makes it the 10th anniversary edition of the beer too. I was particularly excited about tracking this one down and trying it on my recent trip to Copenhagen and was initially led to believe that Ølbutikken would be the only place to find it (and it happened to be closed for most of the time I was in Copenhagen over Easter) but as it turns out, a limited supply is also available at the Himmeriget bar in the city as well, sometimes on-tap as well. On my visit to Himmeriget, when I finally found the bar, there didn’t appear to be any on-tap but they had a selection of vintages in 375ml and 750ml bottle from the last few years, with prices increasing the further back you went. Being Copenhagen and taking into account how rare the beer is, bottles were not cheap but I couldn’t pass up the chance to try this one and happily stumped up the cash to try last years release, this despite the fact I’m not a huge fan of lambics either; it also doesn’t hurt to mention that the beer is currently the top rated fruit lambic on the RateBeer website.

Cantillon Blåbær Lambik

Amazingly this Cantillon offering will be my first try of a new beer from the brewery since I reviewed their Gueuze 100% Lambic Bio offering back in January of 2013, so trying another is long overdue. After a bit of research online, I found it quite hard to get an exact figure on how much of this beer was released for the tenth anniversary vintage but Lambic.info mentions that 400 litres were brewed for each batch between 2010 and 2012, with 100kg of blueberries added. It also mentions that officially only sixty 750ml bottle and a further seventy 375ml bottle were sold to take away, presumably from Ølbutikken but this obviously doesn’t include the total brewed for consumption at Ølbutikken and Himmeriget but I can’t imagine it’s all that common to find the beer anywhere else. This is definitely on that I’m glad to have found whilst in Copenhagen and one that I don’t think I’ll get a chance to try again, so in that sense it was worth the money.

Appearance (4/5): This one pours a deep, cherry red colour that boarders on purple in places. The head was a bubbly white one that was initially about a centimetre tall but quickly settled as a thin surface lacing before eventually disappearing in the centre and leaving the odd bit of lace around the edges.
Aroma (8/10): strong cherries and a lot of sweetness with a bit of tart off the back of that and the blueberries aren’t too far behind either. There was a lot of funky notes and some background acidity but nothing really overpowered thanks to the nice balance of this one. Towards the end some raspberries make an appearance along with the odd hint of yeast; it’s pretty good so far at least.
Taste (9/10): Much as I expected given the nose, this one kicks off with quite a lot of funk and sour notes, there is plenty of raspberries and cherries coming through as well but the blueberries come through with quite a pungent nose as well. There was a nice amount of sweetness and good acidity with a few grapes showing towards the middle with a few sour touches but it was a very balance and enjoyable tasting beer that went down well.
Palate (5/5): This one was a very dry but also quite a smooth beer that was as funky as I expected and came with a pleasant sourness that thankfully wasn’t too overpowering. There was an outstanding balance to the lambic with the sweetness that followed on from the cherries seeming to hold things together quite nicely and the funky flavours followed on quite nicely from there. There was quite a bit of tart throughout and the finish was a sharp, crisp on that worked well with the lively carbonation and the slight tang on the tongue that seemed to linger long after each sip.

Overall (18/20): Excellent stuff from Cantillon and easily the best of the four beers that I’ve tried from them so far, it’s also probably the best lambic that I’ve tried as well thanks to the incredible balance and complexity to the beer. Things got off to a good start with some nice cherries and raspberries to open things up before the blueberries promised on the label started to come through with plenty of funk and tart. The mouthfeel in general was excellent and the lingering sourness on the finish stayed with you after each sip; excellent stuff and a must try if you can find it.

Brewed In: Anderlecht, Brussels, Belgium
Brewery: Brasserie Cantillon
First Brewed: 2005
Full Name: Cantillon Blåbær Lambik 2015 Vintage
Type: Lambic – Fruit
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Bottle (375ml)
Purchased: Himmeriget, Copenhagen, Denmark
Price: 160 Danish Krone (approx. £17.60)

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