Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Great Belgian Beer Run Part Two: United States Version

I was beginning to feel depressed. I started growing my beard at the same time that I did last year. For some reason, beards were a key element to our first Beer Run to Belgium. Why? I don't know, it just was. This year I felt like I was growing my beard with no purpose. It had finally hit me that we were not returning to Belgium in January of 2013. I never expected it to be a yearly event, or even something that was necessarily ever going to be repeated. Kevin, Lou, and I had discussed doing it every ten years potentially. So as we approached the anniversary of the trips conception, it surprised me to feel sad about the adventure not happening again.

For me the highlight of our trip was our time spent at Cantillon Brewery in Brussels. They brew a style of beer there called lambic. Lambic can only truly be produced in and around that area of Brussels because it relies on the natural flora and fauna to ferment their beers. In my opinion, spontaneously fermented beers made in other areas can be wonderful as well, but that does not make them true lambics. The brewmaster at Cantillon is Jean Van Roy. He gave an inspiring interview on The Brewing Network where he further elaborates on his brewery, his family history with the brewery, and brewing lambic. You can't listen to him discuss his beer without getting fired up. In another interview on the BN Head Brewer Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewery in California said that Jean Van Roy had called their sour beers American Lambic. This of course is an enormous compliment. This is where part two of The Great Belgian Beer Run comes into place.

The idea was hatched to head to California with two purposes, both of which are dreams of mine. The first, being a guest on The Sunday Session, the podcast that taught me how to brew, and discuss the beers we are brewing at Cranker's. The second is to further delve into our exploration of sour beers, but this time from the US perspective.

So once again, the three of us, all bearded will be heading off to California at about the time that the original beer run was being hatched. I will be keeping up blog accounts in the same fashion that I did in Belgium.

PS: Happy Thanksgiving!

Drink good beer with good people!

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