Imagine being able to compare one, two and three-year-old Orval, to appreciate its brett-yeast-flavour-development over years. Or imagine the benefit of a year’s maturity on a developing stout, smoothing out the edges and allowing other nuances to shine. Best of all, beer cellaring is fun. It gives a real sense of occasion to that bottle-cracking moment, and the (likely) shared experience.
See the progress of a beer yourself with our recommended ‘drink one, cellar two’ approach. Try the beer now, the second a year later, and the third a year after that! And if you’re not sure what to start with, let us guide you with some beers from the Lambic tradition …
Cellaring Oud Geuze & other beers in the Lambic family.
Most beers are brewed with one strain of yeast; lambics are a family that are brewed with many strains of yeast. The beer is 'spontaneously fermented' with naturally-occurring, air borne yeast local to the brewery. Relying on this ‘wild’ process means that no two barrels of lambic are the same. The skill of a lambic brewer/blender is not only to age lambics, and to oversee their flavour evolution, but in the case of ‘Oud Geuze', to eventually blend the older and younger age profiles in one delightfully balanced bottle of beer.
The simple truth is that most Oud Geuze gets better with age so they’re perfect to cellar, adopting the ‘drink one, cellar two’ approach of course! However, if you are patient, you might consider drinking one now, one in five years, and one five years after that. Most lambic brewers don’t encourage extended periods of ageing for their fruit beers, but sometimes fruit intensity can overpower the delicately nuanced yeast derived flavours so we recommend taking this approach with fruit beers too.
In Margate we’re lucky enough to have a regular who managed to snag the Twitter handle '@lambic', as well as, at any time, nearly all commercial bottles of lambic and Oud Geuze available to mankind! It’s a pleasure to help him in this mission and in return, we learn a lot from him about particular releases. He’s not even a super geek and is wholly able to have conversations about a broad range of subjects that are non-beer-related! When @lambic isn’t to be found, we often use this website for learning more about specific lambic releases: https://www.lambic.info/Home and if you yearn for more knowledge about the particular families of yeast that give birth to the world’s most complicated tasting beers, we thoroughly recommend getting stuck into the book Wild Brews: Beer beyond the influence of Brewers Yeast, by Jeff Sparrow
So as we move into the colder months, take a moment to discover BottleShop: Margate’s cellaring programme for yourself and delve deeper into the wonderful world of lambics. Patience will be rewarded with yeasts which continue to drive flavour evolutions for months and years to come.
BottleShop: Margate | 7-8 Marine Drive, Margate, Kent CT9 1DH
Monday to Thursday: 4pm to 11pm
Friday & Saturday: midday to midnight
Sunday: midday to 11pm