The first rule of gueuze is that it has to be made in Belgium. Depending on the blender, gueuze is traditionally a blend of 1-, 2-, and 3-year-old lambic. The most sought after lambics are Cantillon, 3 Fonteinen, and Tilquin (since its release).
No two gueuzes are the same, which is half of the fun. But similar flavor and aroma characteristics are in the style. Check out these nine gueuzes to cure the sour itch you have. No wild gueuze chase required.
Brouwerij Lindemans (Vlezenbeek, Belgium)
If price and flavor are your starting points for sour beers, this one hits the union of your Venn diagram. Cuvée René is aged in foeders and blended with old and young lambic. This traditional lambic style hasn’t been back sweetened like other offerings from Lindemans. The acidity and tartness blend well with delicate peach and apricot notes. Cuvée René scored a 100 in our blind-tasting reviews for Issue 7 (June/July 2015) of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®, and I often find myself picking it up.
Girardin Black 1882
Brouwerij Girardin (Dilbeek-St Ulriks Kapelle, Belgium)
Girardin’s gueuze blend is a little different. Paul Girardin uses 12-, 18-, and 24-month-old lambic in this blend. It is a deviation from the traditon, but Belgian brewers never follow guidelines. You’ll find and earthy Brett flavor surrounded by a tart and pineapple-like acidity. Considering it’s only a 375ml bottle, it's pricy per ounce. Speculation is that a gypsy brewer uses this gueuze as a base for his fruited sour offerings...
Hanssens (Dworp, Belgium)
I’ll be upfront about Hanssens’s gueuze: it’s pricy, around $20 for a 375ml bottle. So you are likely overlooking this one because of the price tag. But drinking gueuze is all about the flavor adventure. It’s worth discovering Hanssens take on the style. You’ll get musty, barnyard funk and hints of citrus fruits throughout each sip.
Oude Geuze Vieille
Brouwerij Oud Beersel (Beersel, Belgium)
Oud Beersel has quite the history, dating back to 1882. Beersel’s gueuze is a blend of 1- and 3-year-old lambic. It hits on big stone-fruit flavors (peach/apricot) with a moderate high acidity in the finish.
St. Louis Gueuze Fond Tradition
Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck (Ingelmunster, Belgium)
You have likely seen the words “St. Louis Gueuze” and passed right over this one because 1) St. Louis doesn’t scream “amazing gueuze” and 2) you thought gueuze could only be from Belgium. This is a Belgian gueuze; it’s the just brand (no matter how little sense it makes). Thankfully, the taste makes up for the name. Light stone fruit flavors blend into a mild earthiness as the acidity lingers.
Brouwerij Timmermans (Dilbeek-Itterbeek, Belgium)
Why are you passing over this gueuze? Is it because the dark label looks dated and only the word “Lambicus” pops? Inside of the bottle you’ll find a tart, sweet, sourness that rolls into flavors of apricot and plum.
Brouwerij De Troch (Wambeek, Belgium)
This gueuze is a rebranding of De Troch’s original beers without the Chapeau name. So it’s likely you may be seeing it for the first time in the past year. If you love puckering acidity, this is the gueuze for you.
De Cam Geuzestekerij (Gooik, Belgium)
If you haven’t caught on yet, gueuze is pricy. De Cam’s prices are at the point that I’ll buy it once or twice a year to change up my regular go-to sours. Its sweet citrus character is refreshing as it dives into earthy hay notes and finishes dry on the palate.
Oude Geuze Boon
Brouwerij Boon (Lembeek, Belgium)
Frank Boon’s offerings are some of the best bang for your buck (750ml for $10). It is, of course, still relatively easy to find. It’s an oude gueuze that benefits from a fruity alcohol kick. The acidity will slowly soften over the years, and subtle rhubarb, pineapple, and earthy nuances can surface.
For more info on your favorite lambic and gueuze brewers, check out www.lambic.info