On a recent business trip to Toronto, I experienced one of the most amazing nights of beer consumption in my entire life. Not only did I consume my first ever bottle of Cantillon, but also my second. Such an interesting and stark contrast was noted, each was such a truly remarkable experience.
The first bottle opened was a Rosé de Gambrinus, which is everything I ever wanted and hoped for in a sour beer. Tart and assertive, but at a level that was kept in control. On the high end for carbonation, which really enhanced the nose on the beer, to the point you can smell it being poured from a few feet away. You can feel the effort that goes into blending each batch to absolute perfection. The raspberries make the perfect compliment to a base beer the begs to be reeled in. It was truly a masterpiece and a beer that I actually felt a little sad about when I reached the bottom of the glass.
The second bottle of the night was Cantillon Grand Cru Bruocsella. The initial impressions of this beer were not nearly as favorable as the Rosé. Sharp flavors and a lack of carbonation gave this brew the feel of a white wine. As the beer ventured on, it really began to wear me down. This unblended labmic is a snapshot in time. The completely spontaneous fermentation was based on the yeast and bacteria that were in the air the morning this brew was opened up to the world. There have been no modifications to the end product, it is the same beer it always was and will ever beer. So many beers these days go through so many blends and modifications that they have too much human element in them. This beer started off as a brewmaster’s recipe and nature did the rest.
I compare the Rosé to a brand new sports car and the Grand Cru to a dusty muscle car that is waiting to have the cover taken off. While on a traditional rating scale, you cannot beat the Rosé. When it comes to the journey to an end product, I would never give up what was accomplished by the Grand Cru.