Daily Archives: February 4, 2010

#79 – Gribousine Brune de Malonne

#79 - Gribousine Brune de Malonne

Size: 330 ml

ABV: 8 %

The Gribousine Malonne beers are common to the Abbaye de Malonne (#14, #92) range in that they are distributed by the Brasserie de L’Abbaye de Malonne, although they are brewed by the La Binchoise brewery in Binche. While these beers may like to be associated with the purity and sanctity of an Abbey, it simply cannot mask the fact that these are actual homage beers to a legendary witch from Malonne – the one astride her broom on the label.

During the early 1800’s in Malonne, some strange occurrences were afflicting the local population. There were varied reports of cows suddenly being unable to produce any milk, strange nuts growing on trees and plants where previously impossible, and people finding themselves riddled with sudden unfortunate illnesses. The legend goes that an old lady living in a small isolated cottage on the edge of the forest was responsible for casting these bizarre spells on the natives – her name was Gribousine.

The witch, as she was known to all, filled the population with such fear, that the locals would avoid travelling anywhere near her cottage, and instead take diversions on other paths which would often add many miles to their journeys. This everyday routine continued for many years, with more mysterious curses being cast, and Gribousine becoming more and more isolated. Eventually as she grew old and unwell, she came to the local village and sought the help of Father Marchand, the local priest, to rid her of illness and cure her of her loneliness. The priest, along with local warden Francis Joseph Bacq took Gribousine into their care one long and troubled night, and between doses of herbal remedies, they performed a full-scale exorcism. Gribousine was never really accepted by the villagers following this, however the curses and afflictions suddenly abated, and nobody ever reported seeing her ride her broomstick again. The legend though of course has raged on in local history, so much so that they even named a range of beers after her.

The Gribousine Brune de Malonne is a strange one. Sometimes you can drink a beer that has a hint of confectionery, or perhaps an undertone of a drink you once tried as a child. This one however was straight from the Hansel and Gretel fairytale, in that it tasted virtually of a cross between Dr Pepper and Vimto, with the slight taste of beer to keep the adults happy. I can just imagine Gribousine standing on the edge of the forest luring children to her candy cottage with bottles of this stuff. This beer won some International Taste and Quality awards in 2008. I can only assume Gribousine had popped back for a bit of fun !

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Filed under 6, Belgian Strong Ale, La Binchoise

#78 – Lindemans Kriek

#78 - Lindemans Kriek

Size: 375 ml

ABV: 3.5 %

It is remarkable to think that it has taken 78 beverages of the Belgian variety to finally cross paths with a Kriek. I am not a massive fan of cherries, especially the darker kind that are traditionally used in beers, but it is almost impossible to drink a decent Kriek and not enjoy it. Lindemans is hardly the pinnacle of Lambic, but this Kriek is a seriously tasty little number.

Kriek is a recognised style of Belgian Beer, which is historically and traditionally created by fermenting authentic lambic beer with sour cherries. The addition of the cherries tends to kick-start a brand new fermentation in the oak barrels over a period of usually six to twelve months, by which time the residue is filtered and bottled for the delectation of the customer. This is the hardcore purist Kriek methodology, but it can be manufactured slightly to ensure similar results. As an example, Lindemans recognise the limited availability of the “schaerbeekse” cherries which traditionally comprise the Kriek, and therefore have developed a methodology whereby they add pure cherry juice to the lambic blends of different ages. I will certainly come across more pure Kriek lambics on this journey whereby either real cherries will be steeped in the vat, or even the rare “schaerbeekse”, however the resultant Lindemans was good enough for me.

The good news for those in the UK, is that this beer is readily available in most supermarkets at a reasonable price. Just make sure if you take one to a picnic that you have a corkscrew, as this is not something you would normally need to open a beer. Once you finally prize out the cork, you are faced with the startling cherry vapour and then the wonderful smells on pouring. The deep red colour was eerily sanguine, and although sweet on the tongue, was equally sour enough to remind us of the spontaneous fermentation. I have to say this is a fruit beer that will satisfy more the everyday drinker than the connoisseur, but surely even they wouldn’t turn this down on a warm summers day. It’s even perfectly designed to be a drink for a designated driver at 3.5%, assuming of course they know when to stop!

(Post-Script) – the first real opportunity to taste a pure kriek lambic came with the Cantillon Kriek 100% Lambic (#95).

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Filed under 8, Lambic - Fruit, Lindemans