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Step by step guide to prepare for Cantillon.

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Duesler, Apr 11, 2013.

  1. Duesler

    Duesler Savant (310) Connecticut Oct 30, 2012

    I've never had a sour beer, and I would hate to go to Cantillon (I will in August) and not know what I'm doing.
    I live in CT and I need advice about what beers to try (in which order) to get ready for my pilgrimage.
    Thanks much.
    Centennial likes this.
  2. Stevedore

    Stevedore Champion (835) Wisconsin Nov 16, 2012

    Trade for some Russian River. If you get down to Philly you should be able to get some, albeit at a decent markup.
    benjaminahudson and Centennial like this.
  3. MisterGrizz

    MisterGrizz Savant (280) Texas Jan 8, 2011

    +1 to the Russian River. Also, Liefman's makes a Cuvee-Rene that's going to be similar to beers you're going to have there. Also, Petrus Aged Pale Ale should be fairly easy to attain. I don't know much about Philly or CT sours, so I' not much help there.
  4. Stevedore

    Stevedore Champion (835) Wisconsin Nov 16, 2012

    Also, Lindemans' offerings should be pretty easy to find no matter where you are and would probably be a nice starting point if you're interested in lambics.
  5. stupac2

    stupac2 Initiate (0) California Feb 22, 2011

    Cuvee Rene is a good suggestion, but it's Lindemans, not Liefman's.

    I'd also go for 3F oud geuze or kriek. They'll get you ready and should be pretty findable on the east coast.
  6. Here are a couple of gueuze style beers that are pretty easy to get your hands on (I think) and I thought both reminded me of my visit to Cantillon:

    Oude Gueuze Tilquin a L'Ancienne:
    http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/25923/70745

    St. Louis Gueuze Fond Tradition:
    http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/212/5212

    Those are both more on the sour side, but like I said, they both reminded me of the beers I got to sample at Cantillon, so it will at least give you a good idea of what to expect. You should also try to find a good Kriek or two, but I don't have any good recommendations for easy-to-obtain krieks in the U.S.
    aasher likes this.
  7. MisterGrizz

    MisterGrizz Savant (280) Texas Jan 8, 2011

    Dammit, I was just chiding myself on typing that out right. After I looked at the BA profile and everything.. fail. I am unsure whether Cantillon will have a beer similar, but Goudenband from Liefman's is an amazing beer too.
  8. Tilquin uses Cantillon lambic, so it's as close to the real thing you can get without buying the actual Cantillon bottles.

    I recommend also tracking down Girardin 1882 Black Label.
    jbck109, aasher, LambicKing and 3 others like this.
  9. pghlee

    pghlee Savant (255) Georgia Feb 24, 2006

    Try not to drink any sours and let cantillon in brussels be your first.
    DanE, brikelly, jazzyjeff13 and 6 others like this.
  10. atomic

    atomic Savant (415) Illinois Sep 22, 2009

    Don't know about you, but my first sour experience was not all pleasant. I could barely drink the stuff. Now its a different story of course, but it took some time and some testing the waters.
  11. atomic

    atomic Savant (415) Illinois Sep 22, 2009

    If you get the goose island belgian beers, Lolita, Madame Rose, and Juliet (in that order) would be awesome. All aged in wine barrels with berries.

    And if not, I second Petrus Aged Pale. hell get it anyway. Its not expensive (relatively)
    mjshearer1 likes this.
  12. I second this motion. Go there blind. Start with the Bio Gueze and work your way up from there. Also as a first timer the second sip is much better then the first. When you work your way up to the fruit and grape flavored ones you will be blown away.
    BAstoutsNsours likes this.
  13. I went to the brewery last year with my wife having only ever had the original gueuze. After many taste later, all I can say is.. Prepare for you head to explode (in a good way).

    Step 1: Complete bliss.

    Step 2: repeat!
  14. I mostly agree with going there blind. Though perhaps if you end up not liking anything you'll be bummed out. On the flip side, if you do like it they have a nice bottle list for on-site consumption and you'll be having a hell of a time pretty quickly. Do the tour when you get there. That'll get you a sample of some unblended lambic straight from the barrel, as well as a sample of either the Kriek, Faro, or Iris. From there you can get some 2 euro glasses of various things. I was there 3 weeks ago and they had Fou Foune and 2010/2012 Zwanze in bottles for on-site consumption. Make an afternoon out of it. Sitting around Cantillon drinking their beer all afternoon is magical.
    Jnorton00 likes this.
  15. Disagree. My first sour was a Cantillon (Gambrinus) and I absolutely hated it. My continual exposure to the style has created a serious appreciation. Your time is limited. Get your ass in the deep end, and leave the floaties off.
    I wouldn't let romanticism potentially ruin, or shortchange, a wonderful opportunity to experience something so unique as a visit to Cantillon.
    Adamdc likes this.
  16. Danny1217

    Danny1217 Advocate (620) Florida Jul 15, 2011

    I'm going to go to Cantillon next month actually and I have never had Cantillon, but I already know that I am, in fact, in love with sour beer.
  17. What would you say is the closest Russian River equivalent?
  18. SpeedwayJim

    SpeedwayJim Advocate (700) New York Jun 19, 2009

    A couple of these are close to what Cantillon will taste like and shouldn't take too much effort to find:

    Lindemann's Cuvee Renee
    Tilquin Gueuze
    Drie Fonteinen Oude Gueuze
    Drie Fonteinen Oude Kriek
    Drie Fonteinen Scharbeekse Kriek (expensive)
    Oude Beersel Oude Gueuze
    Girardin Black Label Gueuze
    Boon Mariage Parfait
    Hansen's Oude Gueuze
    Hansen's Oude Kriek


    As for what order to try them, I would open a couple side by side and see how the differ, what flavors you like/don't like. I think the order's not too important here. Just try the fruited lambics with the fruited lambic and the gueuze with the gueuze. You just want to get an idea of what you're dealing with in terms of traditional Belgian spontaneously fermented sour beers.
    To those recommending Russian River, I personally would respectfully disagree. While RR makes incredible American Wild's, the flavor profile is really not comparable to any of the Belgian Gueuzes. It's just very different. The innoculation with wild yeast creates a flavor profile that really doen't resemble anything Cantillon makes IMO.
    deeblo and cavedave like this.
  19. stupac2

    stupac2 Initiate (0) California Feb 22, 2011

    Beatification, but you're going to have a harder time getting that. Tilquin Gueuze is really your best bet for closest, but any of the real gueuzes/lambics will get you there (so Lindeman's Cuvee Rene, Hanssens, De Cam, 3 Fonteinen, Tilquin, Beersel, Girardin, some more I'm forgetting).

    Also, sour appreciation just comes to some people. I think being used to wine helps a lot, but I went right into sours without ever really trying wine and was just fine. It all depends. Going in blind might be fun, but I think trying to find Tilquin or 3F would be a good idea.
  20. Well, I don't know how they compare to Cantillon but since your in Conn. you should be able to get your hands on some Allagash.
  21. Why don't you try some Cantillon? Buy it online or trade for it.
    Mag00n likes this.
  22. Cvescalante

    Cvescalante Savant (400) Texas Dec 24, 2012

    Sours make my mouth water... Cuvee Rene is in my fridge right now. One of the only gueze we get here, but it's still very good. If I had the money to order Cantillon and 3F all the time, I'd constantly be stocked up... Back on topic though.. try cuvee rene, monk's cafe, and petrus. They're easy to get and they're very affordable.
  23. adamant1912

    adamant1912 Savant (395) Michigan Jan 10, 2010

    I would do exactly what he (^) said. I wouldn't go out of my way to trade or spend outrageous amounts to obtain it before going. You could try everything they have in the brewery plus to-go stuff for cheap. Most 750 bottles at the brewery are about $10 and you aren't going to beat that price anywhere I know of. Try some sours / more readily available gueuze before you go and it will add to your first experience, especially sitting there drinking it out of the basket sitting in a historic brewery.
  24. CircusBoy

    CircusBoy Savant (320) Ohio Mar 10, 2008

    My first sour was Lou Pepe; liked it a lot but don't think I truly appreciated it since I never had one before and didn't know what to expect. Over the years as I drank more I fell in love with Cantillon and wish I would have held onto that first bottle. I'd say try and get your hands on some of the beers suggested and it will only make your visit that much better.
  25. I had my first sour in line at DLD last year, and it was a Cantillon Zwanze and didn't realize its not your usual sour. All I know is I really enjoyed the mild sourness and sweeter flavors and thought that this is what sours were about so I was shocked I enjoyed my first one. Well a couple of weeks ago I got to try some Vevant beers and found that I couldn't stand them, then again it was my 2nd experience and we had been tasting alot of beers. Anyways, I wanted to give sours another try, and picked one at random and it happened to be a Tilquin Gueze l'ancienne which I hear is actually a really good one, and after trying it last night for the first time, can concur that I really enjoyed it. The only suggestion I can give you as a noob sour lover, which is the same advice I was given and seemed to help, is that the first sip will shock your system and you may not even like it, the second sip you want to get all of your senses into the beer, and by the 3rd sip you should have your taste buds acclimated to the new style and you will either enjoy it or not.
  26. I'd hesitate to recommend this course of action, especially if he's going there anyway, based on how crazy prices can get to obtain Cantillon in the U.S.

    Depending on where you are, of course.

    Speaking from my own experience, I *never* see Cantillon on shelves in the Kansas City area, so any access to their beer has to come through online sites, where the per bottle cost usually ends up in the $20 and up range for 375 mL.
  27. dmfc906

    dmfc906 Aficionado (130) Illinois Jul 2, 2010

    This wouldn't be the worst idea...I found the people at Cantillon to be exceedingly warm, inviting, and willing to discuss their beers with me at length.
  28. Fair enough, I guess I'm biased since I typically make my online orders in bulk with friends (or all for myself), where I can get bottle prices south of $15.
  29. I did this, and it is not a good idea. It's just too overwhelming. Plus I was already flustered by the gigantic spiders everywhere. Also, OP bring back lots of bottles to trade/drink.
  30. kdb150

    kdb150 Savant (490) Pennsylvania Mar 8, 2012

    Russian River is not similar to Cantillon. Do not take this advice expecting for Cantillon's beers to taste like RR's.

    Tilquin Gueuze should be a good starting point, as it has a similar flavor profile as Cantillon Classic Gueuze, and shouldn't be overly difficult to find. This will give you a good idea of the basics of wildly fermented Belgian ales. If you find it too intense, try to find a good Flanders red/brown, such as Rodenbach Grand Cru, or Cuvee des Jacobins Rouge. You might be able to gain a better appreciation for sourness in a beer. If you find you dig some sour, try the Tilquin again.
  31. Andygirl

    Andygirl Savant (280) Michigan Jan 3, 2013

    Bio was my first and I don't regret it. :)
  32. Stevedore

    Stevedore Champion (835) Wisconsin Nov 16, 2012

    Thought this was going to be more of an intro to sours type thing to see what he can experience before he goes to the motherlode. Apologies if the suggestion was misleading in terms of "this is going to taste just like what you'll taste at Cantillon".

    I forgot Monk's Cafe flemish sour, that should be a pretty easy and cheap example of an oud bruin to find.
  33. stupac2

    stupac2 Initiate (0) California Feb 22, 2011

    I don't think anyone is saying that RR tastes like Cantillon, the idea is that very few people like something like Supplication or Sanctification who don't also like gueuze/lambic. The various easy-to-find imported lambics are obviously the best, but RR will definitely prepare you, even if it's not exactly the same.
  34. The 'with friends' thing is a good idea, but I'd think you would need a pretty enormous order to get bottle prices that low with shipping from Europe. At that point, the total cost would be pretty prohibitive (for me anyway).

    I wish I had more friends who liked sours. The guys I know who would be willing to split some cases don't like sours, and the guys I know who like sours aren't really into the whole splitting cases thing. It's infuriating. :mad:
  35. Thisthisthisthisthisthisthisthis.

    I still to this day regret not bringing back more than I did.
  36. How much were you able to buy out there and how easy was it to come across?
  37. Stevedore

    Stevedore Champion (835) Wisconsin Nov 16, 2012

    Ah all the logistics. Need to find a place that sells 12 bottle styro shippers, fill it up with Cantillon and check it on the plane home.
  38. stupac2

    stupac2 Initiate (0) California Feb 22, 2011

    Bring the shippers with you.
  39. Stevedore

    Stevedore Champion (835) Wisconsin Nov 16, 2012

    Honestly sounds like a pain in the ass even if they're empty when I bring them over. But I suppose that'll have to do- might as well bring some beer to share with Euro BAs
  40. stupac2

    stupac2 Initiate (0) California Feb 22, 2011

    Shares or trades, yeah. But from what I've heard shippers are harder to find than you'd expect.

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