#129 – Cassisframbozenlambic

#129 - Hanssens Cassisframbozenlambic

Size: Cask

ABV: 4 %

There was a damn fine reason to be in The Rake pub this evening, which was the highly vaunted and much anticipated Lambic beer festival. I had started the evening on a high with the bottled Oudbeitje (#128) strawberry lambic, and my confidence had risen. I thought it was about time I tried the real stuff on cask. Being still somewhat of a novice on all things lambic I decided that the Hanssens Cassisframbozenlambic which was brooding in their cellar would be the perfect choice. ‘How can you possibly go wrong with a fruit beer?’ were the fateful words uttered by my other half.

It was with these words ringing in my ears, that I strode purposefully back to the bar and ordered two halves of the Cassisframbozenlambic. Priced at £9.90 a pint, it certainly failed to qualify as a bargain, but then how often do you get a lambic beer festival in London? After a short wait, two glasses of a rich red torpid liquid were placed in front of me, while a gentleman to my left nodded manfully with approval. It would be probably the only time in my life where the purchase of a fruit beer would be so professionally acknowledged. Having sorted out the Vedett drinkers in our round, we both dived into the extremely pungent brew.

This was to be no ordinary fruit beer. Never since accidentally drinking rancid milk as a child I had been so offended by a drink. While my face told the story, and I tried gainfully to get through it, Tash had surrendered the most expensive drink I had ever bought her to the bar, demanding something, anything to wash away the flavour. I returned to the couple of locals who had been so impressed with my purchase, who reassured me that the ¾ of a glass I had managed to drink was quite an achievement and that this stuff is normally only used for blending, not for drinking.

Incredibly though when I searched the ratebeer website to check others opinions, I found people rating this monstrosity at high 3s and in some cases over 4. I will leave you with two separate reviews from the evening, both which perfectly highlight how either people are able to develop their palates over time, or that some people simply think its cool to like having their throat burnt at £9.90 a time.

The Good – “Shockingly sour to a point of acidity, suggesting more raspberries and rhubarb rather than blackcurrants. Maybe this wrecked my palette but all the other lambics that I sampled subsequently, tasted rather tame! I kept returning to this little beauty and ended up finishing the evening off with a pint of it. It’s a very difficult drink to rate: certainly not a great deal of finesse but heaps of attitude. I would be intrigued to experiment with this beer in the kitchen, perhaps even using it to make a sorbet. My rating reflects how keen I would be to obtain it again rather than the beer’s technical merits. Many thanks to Tom for assembling and hosting what was probably the finest exhibition of lambic beers ever held outside Belgium

The Bad – “God that is horrible, stale and one of the worst beers I’ve tasted. Total doubling over of the body vile. Weird aftertaste. Clearly one of the most acidic beers I’ve drunk. Like drinking mould. Aroma is a 6 but every thing else is awful


Filed under 1, Hanssens, Lambic - Fruit

6 responses to “#129 – Cassisframbozenlambic

  1. Pingback: #129 – Hanssens Cassisframbozenlambic « The Belgian Beer Odyssey … @ My Beer Critic

  2. signalman

    Relatively recently found this blog, and I have to admit you are a man after my own heart.

    However, I have to wonder why you would buy a pint of lambic ! In my few outings with it I have drunk much smaller quantities ie sharing the large bottles or ordering a ‘small beer’ 🙂

    Its a horrible feeling when the thing you appreciate ( love ? ) so much suddenly bites back, but there again, its the odd man out that makes you appreciate the joy of the rest.

    I have the enviable position of not living in the UK ( as regards Belgian beer ) so can find relatively affordable beers easily here in the Netherlands. My local bar has Chouffe, de Koninck and Vedette on draught ( as well as Wiestephaner, yes, not Belgian, but bloody good ) along with Heineken, and the mass-produced Affligem blond & dubbel. It has even run to Chimay Tripel on draught at times, which was amazing. ( Although English, I still found it strange when you referred to Chimay Blue in an earlier post : its Chimay Blauw here ! )

    Its true, I miss a real pint of bitter or mild, but I live with it 🙂

    Keep up the tasting, I enjoy reading it

    • Signalman.. Sometimes when the world is moving at the rapid pace it does its comments like yours that inspire me to head to the cellar-drobe and drink another..

      Glad you enjoy the read. Makes it all worth it.

      Funny you should mention the Chimay Blauw/Blue. I was thinking about that today. We are probably both wrong. Chimay Bleu surely…. I shared a friends Magnum of this the other night. Not quite as good as the aged Grand Reserve from the Kulminator but a different beast indeed to the 330ml.

      I’m definitely warming to lambics and gueuze but trust me I only ordered a half – not a pint.

      Happy Chouffing


      • signalman

        All is well…a pint would be a touch too much lambic…

        Blauw/bleu…I am not sure if the Abbey is in Flanders or not, but personally, I cannot believe that a French-speaker could produce beer of such quality, and just the sound of the French ‘bleu’ sounds so much like your response to the disgusting taste of the lambic you describe, that I vote for “blauw” and the majesty of Nederlands/Vlaams, its derivation from Duits and progression to English as the true expression of the brewer’s language.

        I order ‘een Chimay blauw’ at my local ( or maybe ‘een Westmalle dubbel’, if I’m slightly less holy 🙂 and the barman would definitely not appreciate a ‘bleu’…enough said…

        PS. Tonight I bought and drank both the above and Chimay Dubbel ( aka Red, but not Rode ! ) from my local supermarket – a Tesco equivalent. Are they available at Tesco’s ? Do they cost 1.49 EUR or equivalent ? Is the Pope Catholic ? [ actually, don’t answer that last one ]…am enjoying the blauw as I write 😉

        Prost !

  3. Jonathan

    I just don’t think I’m ever going to get lambic. I tried an Oude Kriek Boon on Saturday and found it undrinkably sour and unpalatable. Your description mirrors most of mercifully brief lambic experiences.

    They’re interesting beers but not ones I want to drink!

    • Jonathan.
      Good to hear from you again.
      I’m quite a fan of the Oude Kriek Boon.. Trust me, a few of these and you get used to it. The Cassisframbozenlambic though really is something else altogether.. pure evil

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