WHAT THE HELL IS LAMBIC ANYWAY?
We are thrilled to announce the release of our 2015 Vintage La Mûre – Lambic style cider.
That begs the question, ‘what the hell is a Lambic anyway?‘
Lambic is a type of sour beer.
So then, ‘what the hell is a Lambic-style cider? Do those even exist?’
Well, the short answer is no, they did not exist until we started experimenting with sour ciders purposefully inoculated with Lactobacillus bacteria a few years ago. But now the style exists, and a few other folks in North America are doing some cool stuff with sour ciders as well.
For those of you unfamiliar with Lambic beers, these are a class of sour beers made in Belgium. This is an ancient tradition where the beers are left to ferment wild in open-topped fermenters, exposed to the air. Over time, a variety of micro-organisms naturally produce both alcohol and lactic acid, and the result is a bracingly sour yet incredibly complex beer. These beers are usually aged in oak barrels, and there are a few different types depending on the specialty ingredients added to them: Gueze, Kriek, Cassis, Framboise, etc.
We were inspired by these sour, bone-dry, and barrel-aged beers, and wanted to get the same flavor profile into our hard cider to create something unique and wonderful.
We started out by sourcing Pinot Noir oak barrels from local Willamette Valley wineries. These barrels have been used an average of four years, and have just the right amount of toasted oak character to impart on the cider. We take a high-acid blend of Pacific Northwest grown apples and ferment them with Oregon-grown Marion blackberries until it is bone-dry. This is all left unpasteurized and put into the barrels, allowing the native and inoculated bacteria and yeast to continue working over the course of one year. We re-use these barrels each year to encourage a healthy population and diversity of yeast and bacteria to prosper. Once the cider has aged long enough the cider is racked from the barrels and a tiny bit of the next vintage of fresh-pressed apple juice is added to begin fermentation anew. The cider is bottled and the carbonation naturally develops in the bottles as they condition, and the result is down-right magical. Deep blackberry undertones and oak barrel character are the backbone behind wondrous high notes of a floral yeast bouquet. The cider finishes off with a classic lactic tang and a slight astringency. These are the flavors that only time can unfold.
Please don’t associate this cider, or other true Lambic beers, with the ‘Lindeman’s’ brand lambic beers that are cloying and excruciatingly sweet. Real Lambics should be bone dry and unpasteurized.
Since our cider is bottle conditioned and unpasteurized, it will continue to change in the bottle over time. This is part of the fun and excitement of these styles. If you can get your hands on enough of it, I would recommend laying down a case in the cellar for a few years. Maybe a decade, who knows? It will be something only time can tell.
~ Dave Takush