Oud Beersel Oude Geuze Vieille
(Beersel, Flemish Brabant, Belgium)
The sensory experience of a great gueuze can electrify new synapses for those who’ve never tasted it—the first astral journey, personally unique. The complexity is such that no two people perceive gueuze in the same way—and even for one, the rocket-ship ride often takes a totally different route the next time you board. That makes it all the more impressive that we, as drinkers—using different words to describe our experiences—all return to Earth and agree on its excellence.
Oud Beersel’s flagship is one of the most award-winning drinks on the planet over the past couple of decades. Owner-blender Gert Christiaens rescued the brand from purgatory in 2002 and has guided it down an increasingly confident path. While aging and blending lambics brewed to his recipe at Boon, he’s added a few creative flourishes along the way—such as lambics with rhubarb or green walnuts—but he never stopped fine-tuning the classic flagship product.
Our judges this year—as always, not knowing what they’re drinking—described notes of black pepper, peach, tart cherry, lemon, papaya, guava, light leather, and wet hay, with a moderate, balanced acidity. Your own journey will vary, but the panel confirmed what we already knew—“fantastic start to finish … incredible, an amazing beer”—while awarding it a top score of 100.