Rivertown Brewery & Barrel House

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Belgian Lambic
Ranked #24
Ranked #5,684
4.04 | pDev: 8.66%
Rivertown Brewery & Barrel House
Ohio, United States
Notes: Fermented by exposing the beer to untamed yeasts and bacteria native to Rivertown Brewery, known as House Funk. This blend fermented for over a year in wine barrels.
Reviews: 76 | Ratings: 301 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of jkblr
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle vintage 2015 poured into a tulip glass at fridge temp. The beer pours bright in a very light copper color. The head is restrained with nearly white soapy bubbles and quickly fades to a thin ring of bubbles around the glass. No lacing. The aroma is strong with a cheesy funk first and notes of white wine and fruit beneath. The taste is strong with acidity first, revealing bits of apple cider vinegar, cherry, white wine and very faint oak barrel the longer you hold each sip. No perceptible bitterness. Mouthfeel is thin bodied, adequately carbonated and dry in the finish. Overall, I won't offer a value as I'm drinking this to tick a style that I'm not comfortable with. If you like complex beers that smell like blue cheese and taste like vinegar, here's your beer.

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jkblr from Indiana, Feb 17, 2019
Photo of Sabtos
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Sparkly yet milky orange-amber with a quickly dying white, lumpy fizz.

Smell is nicely sharp acidic funk with grapefruit and Smarties.

Taste is really tart grapefruit and lemon, with mixed berries and a little oaky aged vinegar and grape that develop shortly after the introduction.

This lambic starts light to medium bodied before giving it a good swish, which creates a full froth.

2014 vintage.

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Sabtos from Ohio, Jun 25, 2017
Photo of SaltofOH
4.02/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2015. DFW Tulip.

A: pours a dark gold with a slight haze and no head - none - and a few bubbles of carbonation at the edges. No lacing or retention.

S: sour, citric, and funky. Oak and fingernail polish remover. Setting aside the sourness, it honestly smells a little like a fruitier bourbon. One descriptor I see is "goaty" and believe it or not, I think that fits.

T: it's a sour, alright. Arrives tart and acetic. Mid palate is largely the same; toward the end it shows signs of nail polish remover (in a good way) and body odor funk. As it warms this character shows through; distinct oakiness, with - where do I begin? These are not flavors I have ever experienced in food or drink before. Sour, chemical, complex, and pleasing. One descriptor I see is rhubarb; I definitely get that. Barnyard taste lingers on the finish. That is style-appropriate, but not so pleasing.

M: surprisingly lightweight. Faint carbonation, but there is some there. Very clean finishing in terms of slickness. Totally style-appropriate.

O: given that I have not ever had another unblinded Lambic, it is hard for me to rate this. I am drinking this for the sake of getting every category. It was a great learning experience, but I honestly can't see myself drinking this again, except for the uniqueness of these flavors. It is totally distinctive and frankly a little weird. My comments are more a reflection of the style than the beer. Worth experiencing once in a lifetime, at least.

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Photo of jvgoor3786
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a tulip. Pours orangish/ brown almost like apple cider. There is no head and no lacing. The smell is strong oak, peach, and funk. The smell combination is actually really unpleasant to me. The taste shows a lot of barrel and stone fruit, but the sour is first and foremost in the flavor. The slightly unpleasant funk taste is underneath the sour, fruit, and oak. The mouthfeel is highly carbonated with lingering sour and oak. Overall this is a really interesting beer. Lambics are new to me and I probably need more experience with the style. After all that, I actually really enjoyed the beer and would buy it again if I had the opportunity.

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jvgoor3786 from Arkansas, Oct 17, 2016
Photo of Phil-Fresh
4.21/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 Edition, Bottle.

A: Moderate Funk, light wine, a bit earthy, with a moderate sour and slightly acidic aroma

A: Bright orange/yellow color, almost opaque, with a thin dense white head that quickly recedes into a film. Light lacing is left in the glass.

T: Moderate funk, a bit vinous, slight cider, slightly sharp moderate sourness that lingers

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. There is a light acidity on the palette.

O: Pretty sour and slightly acidic, but not harsh and doesn’t exhibit any acetone. The flavor has a slight cider note, but overall a pretty solid funkiness in the aroma and flavor, while still exhibiting some malt balance.

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Phil-Fresh from California, May 01, 2016
Photo of ClavisAurea
4.57/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2014 bottle served cold in a wine glass

Appearance: turbid yellow with no head at all. Highly carbonated.

Nose: very sour, lactic, lemony, funky, apricots, peaches,

Taste: spritzy, lemons, stone fruits, lactic sourness, slight acetic character, funky, slight barnyard

Overall: my first unblended lambic. Very nice beer. I'm looking forward to seeking out more of the traditional Belgian offerings to see how they compare.

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ClavisAurea from New York, Feb 05, 2016
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.72/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle (2011 vintage drank in 2015): Poured a hue golden yellow color lambic with small bubbly head with limited retention. Aroma of light green apple notes with some tart notes and light vinous undertones. Taste is also dominated by tart green apple notes with some vinous notes, light oak and light funky ester with a thin finish. Body is thinner then I was expecting with OK carbonation. Not bad but doesn’t have the depth of the top Belgian lambic producer.

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Phyl21ca from Quebec (Canada), Jan 18, 2016
Photo of JohnnyHopps
3.81/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2013 vintage

Appearance -The beer was orangey yellow with a white head. Carbonation was visible.

Smell - The beer smelled oaky with very little sour to the nose.

Taste - The initial taste was very oaky. With the oak, notes of pineapple, a little lemon, and mild sour notes were present. This is far from puckering. The finish is very dry and oaky.

Mouthfeel - I get a mild sense of carbonation which allow the dry finish to stay put.

Overall - Other than the label, I would not know this was a lambic. It is a nice drink though.

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Photo of Myotus
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750ml bottle (2014 vintage) into a stange.
LOOK: Pours with a finger's worth of white foam that halves itself after 20 seconds. Yellow in color with a high amount of cloudiness. There is a plethora of very small, small, and medium-sized rising bubbles. Lacing is thick and moderate.
SMELL: Has strong aromas of sour yeast that entangle with mild aromas of hay, oak, earthy yeast, barley, and white grapes.
TASTE: Initial taste is of strong sour yeast flavors and mild flavors of hay and oak. Mild earthy yeast, barley, and white grape flavors enter right after.
FEEL: Medium-bodied and highly carbonated. Goes down somewhat rough. Finishes crisp. Sourness from the beer agitates the tongue.
NOTE: A bit basic in flavors, but still good. My first of its style. I'm glad I was able to try one as good as this.

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Myotus from Texas, Nov 02, 2015
Photo of maximum12
3.72/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to fiver29 for this random bottle from a brewery I’ve yet to try: always a good thing. 750ML bottle, 2013 vintage, split with my wife while watching “Finding Nemo”. Great movie.

The first glass is clear light orange, the second very slightly clouded, with the last ounce left in the bottle for research purposes. Very close to being still. Lovely odor of green apple, lemon, choked-out citrus, with a nice shot of tartness. I like where this is going.

Rivertown Lambic is a liquid I could slip into my wife’s drunk club (sorry, “Book Club”) as a white wine & get nary an upturned nose. Tastes like a nice white without the alcoholic bite: wine spritzer, white grape juice, de-bittered lemon, soft green apple. Finishes with umilled grain and citrus: the tartness crowns briefly and gently, with a side helping of dry mouth. You can tell this is a low ABV drink, as it washes all the trail dust from the my cube away in great big gulps. Are you supposed to gulp lambic?

This is a lambic for the fourteen and younger crowd, approachable, easy-going. I could see this as a Middle Ages table beer when the water was full of cholera. Good.

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maximum12 from Minnesota, Jan 03, 2015
Photo of brentk56
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2010: capped and corked

Appearance: Opens with a loud pop when I extracted the cork (I was expecting a foamer but that didn't happen) and pours a cloudy honey color with a spumous head that fades somewhat quickly leaving a few patches of lace

Smell: Lactic crabapple, with pear, oak, Sauvignon Blanc grape, grass, barnyard funk and hay

Taste: Oaky and dry, up front, with a significant lactic element; crabapple, pear and Sauvignon Blanc grape tones building; the tartness builds, into the middle, bringing barnyard funk and hay tones; the finish reveals a nice blend of the fruit and funky tartness

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Not many reviews of the 2010 vintage here and perhaps none of them have this much age on it; wow, was I impressed with how this bottle has matured; would be hard to pick this out if one were asked to identify the American lambic from a group of Belgians

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brentk56 from North Carolina, Nov 22, 2014
Photo of rlee1390
4/5  rDev -1%

A-Cloudy orange, not much carbonation or head

S-Nice tartness, acidic notes, little grapes and some oak

T-Starts with nice tartness, mild acidity, oak and grapes, slight lemon

M-Lighter, dry finish, not much carbonation.

O-A solid lambic, from 2011 all that is left is the acidic notes, can only wonder what it is like fresh

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rlee1390 from Indiana, Sep 09, 2014
Photo of NODAK
4.06/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Strong aroma of white grapes, vinegar, tart....makes the sides of my mouth tickle a bit at the thought of how much I may pucker at this one....smells a lot like a tart white wine really. And pours that way too. Somewhat of a straw color to it...head doesn't seem to be anything remarkable. A little cloudy.

Carbonation is noticeably low....the somewhat intense tartness hits me up front in the face. Wow. Definitely an acidic, white grape, wine-like experience here....after the tartness subsides, a note of grain does peek through, giving this more of a "beer" flavor. It isn't the most tart beer I've had, but it's certainly high on the scale.

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NODAK from Tennessee, Jul 29, 2014
Photo of macrosmatic
4.21/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed from notes. Poured from a 2014 vintage 750 mL bottle into a Brooklyn Brewery tulip glass.

A: Hazy gold, with a one-finger white head with good retention. A big initial blush of visible carbonation settles down quickly.

S: Farmhouse funk, dry and grassy (I assume some Brett), and lactic tartness. Some lemony citric acid with cracker malt sweetness in the background.

T: Lactic tart up front. Citric lemon bite. Funk from the Brett with accompanying barnyard character, which dries this out in the middle along with some faint oak tannins. A bit of sweetness from the biscuity malt. There's a touch of acetic sour bite near the end. It finishes dry and acidic with another punch of funk.

M: Fairly light bodied, though seems about average for style. Lots of carbonation sensation. Not much alcohol flavor but there's a bit of burn which makes me think this might be a bit higher of an ABV than most in style.

O: Very tasty, especially for a regular/rotating offering. I'm not sure the acetic character I'm picking up at the end adds anything to the beer (nor would be style appropriate, I don't think). But fortunately, it doesn't ruin the experience.

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Photo of ONUMello
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle, 2013 vintage poured into a flute
A: Hazy very light brown with a slight yellowish/pinkish hue. Almost no head but light bubbles
S: Sour - green apple/citrus, some oak, wheat and yeast
T: Also sour, green apple initially, a hit of funk, some citrus, yeast, wheat, and choke cherry
M: Light-bodied, pleasant carbonation, a light touch of tannins
O: Quite complex and tasty. My first Lambic and I'll definitely be exploring the style more. I'll try to buy another bottle of this to try with some age

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Photo of buschbeer
4.06/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 PINT 9.4 FL. OZ. bottle
Served in a flute
2012 vintage

A - It is a golden color with straw highlights. I got very little off-white head.

S - The aroma is sour with some dank basement. I get some green apple and pear.

T - The taste is tart and vinous. It is acidic. The taste is not as intense as the smell. The sourness doesn't really linger in the aftertaste.

M - Sticky and moderate.

O - This is my first unblended lambic. I enjoy the sourness of the beer, but I would like more. With no experience with Belgian lambics, I am eager to try more. I like this one.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From the 2011 batch.

A- Pours a fairly hazy, deep golden in color. Small, off-white head that doesn't stick around long. No lacing due to lack of a head.

S- Fairly tart right up front, with a good dose of citrus. Middle of the scent turns toward a more oak focused tart flavor. Tart but not too sour overall.

T- Pretty much follows the scent to a tee. Starts with a moderate level of tartness, then moves toward a more grainy and oak flavor profile. Grainy, but there is still an underlying tartness throughout the middle of the drink. A dry, tart, and oak focused towards the end with a bit of lingering tart fruitiness.

M- Body is light and fairly highly carbonated. Pretty easy to drink, with even the tartness not holding you back.

Really just a decent sour. Nothing too special, but all the flavors and qualities of a good lambic are there in varying degrees. For the price tag of $10-12 it's not bad, but more than that, and you might as well use time and effort to get the Belgians.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.89/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottle opened on 1.5.14
Thanks bstyle!
VIntage 2011

A - Pours a hazy light orange with a small soapy, white head that fades pretty quickly.

S - Tart, oaky, lemon, slightly floral.

T - Tart lemon and orange, oaky and finishes funky.

D - Light body with good carbonation.

O - Nice tartness, oaky, citrus with a pleasant funk. Good beer.

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HuskyinPDX from Washington, Jan 28, 2014
Photo of sweemzander
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks for sharing Matt! 2010 vintage.

(A)- Pours a hazed golden yellow color. Some subtle white bubbles formed.

(S)- Quite dry but with a vibrant acidity. It oozes sour lemon head/peel. great yeasty bits amidst a potent sourness overall. Quite awesome for me.

(T)- Not as sour as the aroma foretold, but it is balanced nicely. Some wheat-like yeasty bread meets some acidic lemon rind at the end.

(M)- A spritzy carbonation level meets a light but zesty acidic lemon citrus overall.

(O)- It is definitely a successful lambic from the states. Always like to see more breweries around here try their hand at my favorite styles.

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sweemzander from Illinois, Oct 01, 2013
Photo of Alieniloquium
3.74/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2011 vintage.

Appearance - Pale hazy body. Not a lot of head. Thin white collar.

Smell - Lemony acidic aroma. Malty. A little grassy.

Taste - Very malty. Lemony sourness that builds. Puckering in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy for a sour. Malty. Pretty sour in the finish.

Overall - Not a complex flavor, but it's decent.

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Photo of schwemjw
4.17/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Bright golden yellow, no head. very bright.

S: Honey, tangarine with a dry white wine quality to it (kind of like a dry Riesling). Pungent acidic lemon with a crisp tartness. Young cherries and tart grape. inviting.

T: From the second it touches your tongue a sour funk and tart apple take over. Reminiscent of a cider. Strong yeast presence with a hint of limestone. lemon and hay round it out. A very tart finish that is quite long. Sour cherries come in with a vanilla back end note.

M: Clean and crisp with a long finish. body seems like but the carbonation is there.

O: A nicely balanced brew. Quite enjoyable. The acid and funk is there but in no way overwhelming. /91

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Photo of superspak
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, 2011 vintage. Pours lightly hazy bright golden straw color with a 2 finger fairly dense white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace that lingers. Minimal spotty lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big tart apple, lemon, pear, grape, clove, oak, hay, grass, vinegar, white wine, funk, leather, and yeast earthiness. Awesome aromas with great balance and complexity of yeast and oak barrel notes; with good strength. Taste of tart apple, lemon, pear, grape, clove, oak, hay, grass, pepper, white vinegar, funk, white wine, leather, and yeast earthiness. Fair amount of acidic tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of light fruits, clove, oak, hay, vinegar, grass, white wine, leather, funk, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity and balance of fruity/spicy/funky yeast flavors with moderate barrel presence; with a great malt/tartness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, crisp, and moderately acidic mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent Lambic style! All around great balance and complexity of yeast and barrel flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink with the moderate acidity. A highly enjoyable offering.

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superspak from Michigan, Sep 07, 2013
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Rivertown Lambic 2012 

Appears apricot hazed hue with a light white head fine streaming bubbled carbonation. Fine speckled lacing left behind. Aroma light fruit hints of cherry peach I'm not sure which fruit this lambic uses, wild yeast notes excellent stuff acidic lactic yogurt notes. Flavors are pungent with tart lively acidity, bitterness from nutty earthy yeast and aged hops rolling complexity with hints of peach/strawberry Chobani yogurt dynamic yeast lively flavors great beer. Mouthfeel bone dry lively carbonation effervescent wine like great finish goes down as uber authentic lambic not like a sugar infused Lindemann, I'm in awe. Overall excellence in a bottle, these brewers are inspired keep the sour wild ale program kicking and you will be successful.

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WVbeergeek from West Virginia, Aug 10, 2013
Photo of standardcherry
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

CBC Clerkenwell bottleshare

A: Dark orange color. Nice sized white head.
S: Lots of sourness and funky lemons. Pleasant.
T: Not as sour as I was expecting, but I did get tons of hay and funky lemons. Some mild wheat notes to balance it out.
M: Small bodied with medium carbonation. I enjoyed the dry mouthfeel. Pretty effervescent. Refreshing.
O: Very good lambic from Ohio out of all places! Very enjoyable.

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standardcherry from Massachusetts, Jul 30, 2013
Photo of WillCarrera
3.97/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, 2012 vintage, poured into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a hazy dark golden yellow color, topped with a thin, watery white head, leaves a bit of lacing.

S- Musty, sweaty funk, a solid amount of acidity, leaning a bit towards acetic. It smells better than I expected, there are some attributes of its Belgian counterparts here that are more present than you typically get in American sours.

T- Moderate amount of acidity, both lactic and acetic here but still leaning towards acetic. Some wheat and grain flavor, along with a bit of lemon and stone fruit.

M- Medium-bodied, smooth feel, dry finish.

O- A very solid American sour. I've gotta emphasize though that this is not a lambic, and never could be (it also probably shouldn't invite that comparison either, which can only ever be unfavorable for itself), but besides the linguistic technicalities this is a really nice, tasty, drinkable sour.

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Lambic from Rivertown Brewery & Barrel House
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 301 ratings