Editors’ Picks: Belgian Gueuze

Here are the OGs—a few of the most refined versions of the most complex drink in the world.

Craft Beer and Brewing Jul 15, 2020 - 3 min read

Editors’ Picks: Belgian Gueuze Primary Image

3 Fonteinen Oude Geuze

Imagine the smell of thrashing an old gym sock full of lemons around a musty bookshop, and it’ll get you close. In the balance are an intense stamp of grapefruit and cellar-funk, splashed on a canvas of lemony wheat and soft, dusty bitterness, the acidity restrained enough to encourage more drinkability than anyone can really afford.
ABV: 6.2%
Loc: Lot, Flemish Brabant, Belgium

Cantillon Gueuze 100% Lambic

You can almost taste the spiderwebs. Chase the fruit beers and experiments if you want, but we always circle back to the original gueuze: leaning sour but never harsh, with an earthy grapefruit-lemon heart, austere, elegant, but exploding like a fractal into a million complexities if you zoom in too closely.
ABV: 5.5%
Loc: Brussels, Belgium

Oude Geuze Boon

Yes, we know the Mariage Parfait, and the Black Label, and the special-barrel gueuzes (such as Vat 109)—and they’re wonderful, well worth hoarding. But the undersung gem in the lineup is unpretentious, elegant, lighter Oude Geuze Boon, with more tangy, tart, quenching citrus emerging from the cellar-wood and soft bitterness. But maybe we’re just attracted to the idea of an everyday gueuze—though it’s sneaky for its strength.
ABV: 7%
Loc: Lembeek, West Flanders, Belgium

Gueuze Tilquin Draft Version

To some in the region, it is heretical to put gueuze in a keg and push it with CO2. Call it a naughty pleasure. Pierre Tilquin’s lighter interpretation is a mix of his accomplished blends and meerts, for a unique sparkling lambic drink that sacrifices only a smidge of complexity for the sake of obliterating thirst. Begs to be guzzled in quantity, if you can find it.
ABV: 6.2%
Loc: Bierghes, Wallonian Brabant, Belgium

Oud Beersel Foeder 21

Not a traditional gueuze, but something distinctive and wanting greater exploration. A blend of lambics aged almost four years in white-wine barrels, the bright grape sweetness has survived and sprouted as a new sapling, adding beguiling, Riesling-like, bright-fruit aroma to a ponderous, dry, cobwebby base of funky-lemon maturity.
ABV: 6.5%
Loc: Beersel, Flemish Brabant, Belgium