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Cantillon Iris | Brasserie Cantillon

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Cantillon IrisCantillon Iris

Brewed by:
Brasserie Cantillon

Style: Lambic - Unblended

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
From the brewery's website: "Although it is a spontaneous fermentation beer, the Iris is very different from the Lambic. The amber colour and the bitter and slightly caramelized taste make it a complex beer."

Added by TheLongBeachBum on 12-05-2002

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Reviews: 492 | Ratings: 2,015
Photo of riored4v
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 5/5/09

Poured into a Chimay goblet. Slightly pink in color.. hues of red and amber. Clear body. Off-white, thin head that fades fast.

Smell was leathery and mildly musty. Slightly acidic and very crisp.

Taste was leathery, musty and had a tartness that was cherry-like. Good amount of funkiness and interesting, although very subtle, vanilla notes from the oak. Fairly smooth drinking, not overly tart or acidic and leaves a clean palate in the finish.

Mouthfeel was light and crisp. Dry finish.

Drinkability was good. Tart but clean finish.

Overally this was a really tasty brew. The bottle went down way to easily.

 636 characters

Photo of Sideswipe
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At Stone on Zwanze day

A- Dark orange, amber color. Little to no head.

S- Sour oranges and mild funk.

T- Sour and tart out of the gate with grapefruit rind and orange qualities. Some barnyard funk mid-palate followed by a citrusy, sour finish and a lingering sour aftertaste.

M- Medium to light body with low carbonation. Very nice.

O- Really enjoyed this. Interesting citrus characteristics which work quite well with the sour, funky qualities of the beer. Hope to have this agaIn. Recommended.

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Photo of aubuc1
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12.7 bottle dated 2005 (cork dated 2007)poured in to a flute.

pours rich golden with a steady stream of carbonation rising to a quickly disappearing head.

Smell is slightly tart and slightly malty with some spice and faint fruit. Very complex.

Taste is very sour and dry. Warm taste, but not alcohol. Sourness is cidery.

Dry mouthfeel vanishes and with the sourness leads me wanting more.

Not as great as I hoped, but a very nice experience.

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Photo of Jwale73
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12.7oz. bottle served in my Allagash Goblet. 2007 vintage bottled in 2009. Poured a golden-caramel with a loose, half inch, off-white head that crackled and sizzled as it receded. Nose is tart, acidic, grapefruity with a touch of cork. Taste is lemony/grapefruity, tart, dry and corky/earthy. Mouthfeel is light-medium with an aggressive carbonation level that cleanses the palate between quaffs. Not my favorite offering from this brewery, but quite good nonetheless. The bottle could probably have used a little bit more age on it though.

Thanks to jedwards:
2002 vintage bottled in 2004.
A: 4.5 - Poured a golden orange with a bright white, quarter inch head that dissipates into a consistent skim. The color on this is exquisite.
N: 4.0-4.5 - Citrus, must, horseblanket, a little salty and some cork
T: 4.0 - Sour, tart, vinegary and acidic. Good, but it's lost some of the subtle nuances I recall from younger vintages.
M: 4.0 - Light-medium in body, easy carbonation and a dry, slightly puckering finish.
D: 4.0-4.5 - This has quite a different character than the younger vintages and the qualities of each are both quite respectable; however, they are different enough to require some forethought in choosing how "sour" you want to go.

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Photo of danieelol
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an apricot juice (if such a thing exists) colour with nice white head which rather rapidly recedes.

Have had this one fresher and the hops were a lot more dominant. This one starts with classic Cantillon Brett funk, really potent. Then you get the hops coming through in a balanced, integrated fashion. Lots of dried apricot and also some malt.

Taste features more funky notes with some dried apricot.

Mouthfeel is quite good.

Overall a nice beer.

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Photo of tewaris
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Here it is, the most weird of all 'loons. Thicker and murkier and more amber than other lambic, it is easier to spot among others of its kind. Funky, duh. Honestly, I did not detect much uniqueness in the aroma but taste is a whole different game --- much more malty but not sweet, I am having trouble finding the right adjective. And then there's the bitterness. In this layman's terms, it drinks like a blend of a lambic and an... IPA?

But finish is usual Cantillon --- sharp and dry! Interesting and unique but not necessarily my favorite.

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Photo of Zaplt
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Split three ways again with Hobojon and DaveJanssen in Tulip glasses.

Appearance - Light orange, *coppery/reddish tints. Light head with complete lack of lacing.

Smell - Complex funk, initially thought body odor (not in an unpleasant manner) - sour with hints of citrus.

Taste - Has a prominently earthy sour funk. Floral taste is apparent and mixes extremely well with the funk to the point that it's hard to differentiate if the floral character is coming from the hops or yeast - most likely a complementary mix of both. Sweet candy near the end of the taste. *Extremely acidic

Mouthfeel - Smooth and lightly carbonated - a dry feel in general *especially in relation to the low carbonation

Drinkability - Very drinkable to those interested in lambics. Enjoyed it thoroughly but couldn't have enjoyed it as much a year ago, due to undeveloped palate but not extraordinary.

*Strongly influenced by fellow tasters.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.99/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy deep goldish orange with minimal head. Nose is very aromatic with a strong presence of herbal hops paired with some acid and funk. The earthiness of the hop profile pairs nicely with the bacteria. There are also some notes of caramel and oak towards the end. Taste is acidic up front with a nice tart punch which quickly gives way to herbal/earthy/tea like hops. Notes of lemon, grass, and tart cherries all come through in the flavor. Overall, this is an interesting and complex beer. Definitely not my favorite from Cantillon, but that may be due more to personal preference.

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Photo of kingcrowing
3.98/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

37.5cl corked & capped bottle poured into an oud beersel glass at Delirium Cafe in Brussels. 2005 vintage.

Pours a crisp clear amber with a thin white head that fades quickly to nothing, very little bubbles visible. Nose is light, tart an sweet.

Taste is very sharp and sour but super smooth and easy drinking given the style. Hints of flowers, honey and tart candy. Finish is tangy and fruity.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
3.98/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was looking forward to trying this one, as it is named after one of my two favorite flowers. A good omen, I figured.

On the pour, I got almost no head atop a clear amber body. About what I expected, although some haze would not have been unwelcome.

Aroma was initially skunky, which was a shock. That quickly turned into a nice lactic sourness, somewhat tart. Worth a solid 4 if not for the first blast.

Taste was not sour, much to my surprise. It was slightly tart, with definite oak tannins coming out.

Mouthfeel was somewhat dry, not too heavy.

Drinkability... this went down real goood. I could have had more, were it not for the price.

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Photo of dmbfrat420beers
3.98/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2004

Slightly hazy pale orange with centimeter white head that dissipates fairly quickly. Nice hue, and the lack of head retention is standard for the style.

Sharp and crisp, not as musty as I have come to expect from Cantillon. Notes of grape fruit and grape.

Flavor is similar to a white wine, with lots of sour and tart notes, grapes and a sharpness akin to cheddar.

Good carbonation up front, settles in a smooth medium bodied feel with a dry finish.

Anyone that can overcome the sourness should find this a highly drinkable beer.

I don’t know if I would take this beer over their Kriek or the blended Gueze, but a delicious beer from a superb brewery.

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Photo of Ineedabeerhere
3.98/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2005 Vintage, review from notes. Shared this with a few friends the other day.

After removing the black foil, not only did I reveal a rusty cap, but also a moldy cork. No worries though, this beer poured a hazy dark orange with a billowing head fading to one finger and great retention and lacing throughout.

Smells of moldy apricots and sweaty balls. Lemony sourness, not much vinegar. Acidic, with a touch of herbal spice. Taste follows with initial sourness, very funky mid palate. Finishes with a weird bitterness, coating the tongue. Lingering aftertaste. Very unique here, a clear product of the use of 50% aged and 50% fresh hops.

Not as high of a carbonation as the pour would have indicated, but I did savor this ~6oz pour over the course of at least 30 minutes with some healthy swirling to knock out a bit of carbonation. Very intense beer that is very drinkable considering the flavor profile. Yes please.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.98/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. 2006 vintage. Pours a golden orange color with minimal head into my stemware. Very floral and funky type aromas in the nose. I'm taken aback slightly as this smells like nothing Cantillon I have had before. Beyond the floral notes are some fruity and lemony aromas. The taste is quite good although again, different, from other Cantillon beers I have had before. Fairly tart and sour. Lemony aftertaste with some barnyard. Light mouthfeel. Love to try this one again.

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Photo of ghostwalker
3.97/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber body with a light haze and very thin head.

Tart aspirin nose.

Flavor is tart and dry, but smooth with a sour fruitiness.

Mouthpucker with slight astringency.

Good for the style. Definitely a sipper, but still somewhat quenching.

Thanks to juicestam for sharing his loot from Belgium!

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Photo of Reaper16
3.97/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle, 2005 vintage, served into a tulip

Pours a hazy orange, sort of pumpkin colored or gourd colored. The white head is only about a half-finger at the most, even with a vigorous swirl. It laces pretty strongly in spite of that. The orange lightens to a honeyed amber when held to light.

Nothing much in particular stand out on the first whiff of this beer but you can parse things out as you acclimate to it. There is certainly some tartness to the aroma, much more lemon juice than vinegar. The smell of wild yeast is unmistakable-- a light horseblanket funk grounds the nose. There is a respectable spice aroma here. Nutmeg, I think, and perhaps thyme though I could be mistaking the leafy hops for thyme. This lambic is dry hopped and also wet hopped (crazy!), though you can't really tell too much; this vintage is close to five years old after all. A touch of cat urine highlights everything. If you're expecting the wheat that lambic beer has then the lack of wheat smell will surprise you. Iris is 100% barley and you can tell.

Lemon, lemon, lemon. That is the predominant flavor here. It isn't overwhelmingly tart, which may be a bad or good thing depending on how much of a sourhead you are. It even begins to become sweet if you hold the drink in your mouth; the malted barley flavors really show. Upon the finish this beer changes dramatically. Dry tartness develops on the back of the tongue. A musty, Brett flavor fills the mouth like a cloud. The tartness and funk combine to achieve a flavor somewhat reminiscent of a whole-grain mustard. As the beer warms it becomes increasingly astringent.

This bottle is old. It has no carbonation that you can detect on the tongue. I feel that carbonation would take this beer to an even higher level. As is, this smooth (nicespeak for flat) drinker is medium-bodied and doesn't upset the lemon cart in any way. As far as unblended lambic beer goes, Iris is very drinkable. The malt characteristic and the hopping take away some of the impact of the sourness without taking away the depth of flavor.

I'm now curious to see how a fresher, 2007 vintage compares to the 2005 I just had. The hop character is likely to be entirely different, perhaps the carbonation level too. The 2005 is drinking fine though for what it is.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.97/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage into Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a hazy/mirky copper orange with a fizzy off-white head. A decently aggressive pour yields about 2 fingers-worth of head. Some decent head retention leave a thin layer of head fizzy here and there.

S - Lots of funky, tart, and sour notes smacks you across the face right away. Barnyard, horse blanket, and some tart citrus notes as well but this is pretty much funk funky funkness.

T - Not quite as funky as the nose. Has tart orange-peel notes that stick out a lot and make the finish bitter. I don't know if I'm really digging that characteristic but it doesn't totally ruin this lambic. Citrus, tart/sour, some acidic notes in there as well.

M - Light and fizzy, just how I like 'em. Very champagne-esk dry finish.

D - There are other lambics I prefer over this one from Cantillon.

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Photo of BeerTruth
3.95/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml corked bottle poured into a tulip.

Vintage 2005, bottled in 2007.

Pours a semi-clear sunset orange with a big 'ol two finger fluffy white head that quickly dies down to a thin layer of fluff. Virtually nothing in terms of stickiness, if anything, a possible spot here or there. Good god this is a sour beast. Grass, lemon, and vinegar explode in the nose with some sour apple underneath. A very powerful aroma overall, but in a good way. Taste begins, well, pretty tart. Lip smaking grapefruit and white grapes with some crisp hay underneath. Vinegar and lemongrass midway with a hint of unripe cherries. Aftertaste is pretty earthy and dry with leather and dust flavors on the tongue. Light and dry body with a big puckering mouthfeel. Pretty strong carbonation but it fits very well with the style. The abv is pretty low, but the crazy tartness is a bit much for my tastebuds. Not bad, but the price tag is a bit of a turnoff.

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Photo of pmlondrigan
3.95/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2007 vintage poured from a bottle. Orange opaque ruddy beer with a really lovely two finger tight white head. Spotty belgian lace grows with each succesive sip. Lightly funky sour tang aroma, with wet horse blanket and heavy lemon. This is not the most sour lambic, although it is plenty funky, oaky, and pithy. Punchy lemon flavor blended with a dusty straw taste. Iris has an acidic and bitter finish, this is slightly off putting. I assume this comes from my buddies decision to age this beer. The mouthfeel isn't thin, or all that dry actually. Overall I'd have to try this with less age on it, but it was tasty.

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Photo of DearthVader
3.94/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 Vintage split with my girlfriend and brother. This was made possible thanks to the generosity of LSUPT. Thanks again for this Alex.

Poured into my Fantome tulip.

It pours a beautiful burnt yellow that gets brighter towards the center of the glass. A Ron of carbonation in this one which creates the billowing 2 finger off white head. The head sticks around for quite some time which I am nor use to with the style. Very nice.

Smell is a little underwhelming. The oak characteristic was the most prevalent feature. It overwhelmed the sour aromas and all the mashed fruits that were in this.

The taste is sour upfront. The sourness bleeds into some wonderful grape, apple, peach, and apricot flavors. The oak is very noticeable late in the sip.

Could drink this stuff all day. Nice and creamy mouthfeel that is still light bodied and very inviting.

My second chance with a Cantillon. They continue to live up to the hype.

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Photo of jsanford
3.94/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle courtesy of the CPJ!

Appearance - Pours a dark orange with a dense, off-white head and very high level of carbonation.
Smell - Lovely aromas of signature Cantillon funk (wet hay and earth) with a heaping dose of citrusy hops and oak.
Taste - Follows the nose nicely, a lovely blend of bitter and funk, oak and tartness. More earthy, barnyard funk with a slightly tropical citrus hop profile and some green apple skin.
Mouthfeel - Crisp and highly carbonated, with a medium-thin body and a very dry, tannic finish.
Overall - A nice Cantillon, but far from my favorite of their offerings.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.94/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle pour sampled at mrbubbler's tasting.

2007 vintage.

Pours a slightly murky honey orange with a tan head that fades to wisps of film on top of the beer. No lacing on this one. Smell is sour, tart, and funky with some nice hoppy aromas. Taste is the same with an almost minty flavor on the finish. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good lambic with a nice hop presence.

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Photo of thryn
3.94/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Labeled 05, bottled in 07 according to the cork.

I feel like this beer should have a nice head, and it does not. Other than that, it is attractive. A cloudy pale copper, with a small head that recedes immediately to a halo.

nicely tart and sour on the nose. This is full of green apple notes, with a bit of mustiness. Some pear as well, with tons of oak scent.

This does not taste nearly as delightful as it smells, sadly. There is a lot of tartness and that musty blanket flavor, with some nice sour apple up front that fades and is followed by a weird overripe fruit whang. Great at first, then just bitter and weird. I'm not hugely familar with true lambics, so maybe I haven't got my palate around them, but I tend to like sour and funky beers better than I like this. The flavors come in waves and don't mesh terribly well.

... OK, I'm upgrading. The flavors blend much better as it warms, and the unpleasantness I was getting is gone. It's gone from a strange bitter and rotten finish to a nice sour finish. Some citric and spice notes are coming out nicely, too. Lesson -- let this one air out and warm a bit before sipping. It's still not great, though.

Mouthfeel is very nice. A medium to light body with plentiful sharp carbonation despite the lack of head.

I'll finish it, and may buy another to compare, as I feel this one may not be the best representation.

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Photo of jbaker67
3.94/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Orangey amber color, fluffy foam beige head that diminishes and aroma of sour yeast, barnyard, citrus rind. Taste is tart lemon rind, grapefruit, woody, yeasty, with light malt & caramel notes and some lingering bitterness. Smooth mouthfeel, medium bodied, soft to medium carbonation, dry sour finish. Complex and tasty, very drinkable.

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Photo of boatshoes
3.93/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received this as an extra in a recent trade with nonstick. Thanks!

Appearance- Pours a murky tan with a few floaties despite decanting the yeast. About a finger of fizzy white head rises off the body of the beer and actually stuck around for longer than I was expecting. No discernible lacing but some visible carbonation.

Smell- A lot more funky than I was expecting. Lots of barnyard, wild yeast, lactic tartness, and fruitness coming through. Of the nature of green apples, lemon zest, and some pear. Very wild and tart smelling.

Taste- Big on the tartness and funk. Really a lot of the wild yeast funkiness and barnyard on the palate accompanied by a mouth puckering lactic tartness that dies back somewhat as the beer warms. Again, green apple and some pear show through but this lambic is on the less fruity and more sour/wild side than many I have had. Very nice though and an interesting change.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel is great for the style and not overly thin, though the carbonation is surprisingly spritzy. Drinkability suffers just a touch because of the high levels of funk and tartness but still pretty good.

Overall, interesting and a change from the lambics I've had recently. Another great offering from Cantillon and I would recommend it.

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Photo of FernMaster
3.93/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage, poured from the bottle into a white wine glass.

Some people may have read that first line and cringed a little, you do what you can with what you can. However, it wasn't a bad fit pouring it into a white wine glass and it's a perfect segue-way into my thoughts on this beer. I've often thought, as others have I know, that the perfect beer to help the transition of wine drinkers into the scary world of beer is a lambic. But has anyone ever said that the perfect beer to transition beer drinkers into wine drinkers is a lambic? If not, allow me to be the first to say it.

I brought this over to my newlywed friends apartment as well as a cabernet sauvignon called "Josh," which I bought for the sheer novelty that the wine and I share names. My buddy likes beer (sort of, I need to get him away from macros) and he doesn't like wine. She likes beer and is starting to get into wine, something I'm doing now as well. I introduced him to the lambic as a hopes of opening him up to the possibilities of liking wine, the thinner mouthfeel and more fruity components I thought would aid in this. I even served it at red wine temperature.

Pouring this into a white wine glass may seem weird, but the pour was incredible. There was so much head on this beer, an amount that seemed unnatural to lambics. It was quite awesome. There was also some decent lacing on the glass as well. Also wow, is it gorgeous looking.

There's some nice funky earthiness to the nose. There was definitely some fruit in the nose as well, some sort of cherry, floral, grape scent.

The taste wasn't as tart as I'd expect, maybe because of the temperature I served it at and if so that's the temperature I'm serving all lambics from here on out at. It was still tart and funky but the fruit flavors of citrus, lemony and kind of grape flavors with the earthy strange funkiness was a true joy. I was most interested in how my friend was going to go to this. I think he enjoyed it, but I think he may have skewed his thoughts a little to make it seem like he wouldn't disappoint me. Bah. So maybe my theory on using this to get beer people into wine is a little thin, but that doesn't mean it should be abandoned on one case study.

The mouthfeel is very big and frothy, it sits very well in the mouth and isn't as thin as it's look may make you believe. There's also some nice carbonation in the beer so that really adds to the apperciation of the drink. It's very drinkable, especially at that 50-55 degree temperature range. It's a little pricey, which keeps me from regularly buying something like this, but if I feel like I want to indulge, I will purchase this again. I may also purchase it again in getting either wine or beer people into the drink they're not into yet.

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Cantillon Iris from Brasserie Cantillon
4.26 out of 5 based on 2,015 ratings.
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