My senior research paper in college was written in 36 hours straight, but took months to… well, research. I actually had a fun with the process. The idea of combing through journals, books, essays, and speeches to pull evidence out and make something unique with it is why I enjoyed doing it. Like a research paper, breweries often take a similar approach when crafting a beer. Tilquin Gueuze is a perfect example. Tilquin is not a brewery per se, but a “blendery.” At Tilquin, no beer is crafted from start to finish; how they produce their stuff is by taking wort (beer before it’s fermented) from different breweries in Belgium, blending it to a perfect mix, throwing it in oak, and then bottling the end result. Something that may seem like an easy way out actually takes time, which is why Tilquin focuses on two beers really – a classic Gueuze and a Lambic aged on plums. Solely a sour beer producing Gueuzerie, Tilquin taps the resources of Boon, Cantillon, Lindemans, and Girardin, who specialize is making sour beers. Will 5 heads together be better than one? Time for the numbers…
Smell: A cornucopia of smells radiating off of this beer. Vinegar, ketchup, lactic acid, cat pee, and some straw. A very funky smell coming off of this brew, which is something I would expect coming from a blended Geuze from 2011.
Taste: Very tart, but I’m weary of using the “sour” term with this brew. It’s not mouth puckering like other sours I’ve had, but there is a big lactic and acidic kick that is most certainly the main element going on this this brew. A lot of earthiness, wood, and tannin coming from this beer as well… not sure if the age is a contributing factor to that, or if it’s on the production side, but regardless, it helps to make this beer more bitter than sour. Some vegital characteristics make their way out of this beer including a briney olive taste and some vinegar. To me, Tilquin has a ton of funky notes, where I find that most sours have way more of a puckering quality. I was looking forward to that out of this Gueuze, but it wasn’t what I was expecting.
I find that this Gueuze is pretty lightly carbonated with a thin mouthfeel, but Gueuzes usually take on both of those roles. For 6.4% ABV, the alcohol is well hidden, masked behind the funkified qualities of this beer.
Overall: Let’s cut to the chase, this beer for me is a B+. Not overwhelmingly great for a sour, but definitely a formidable one. Again, I think I might be a little harsh on this brew since it has a nice, unique flavor, and drinks easily, but it just doesn’t hold up to other sours I’ve had. I find this to be a toned down Resurgam with a lot of tannin and oak, but just not the same sour power. My bias plays into this review, but if you like a funky, tart, earthy beer – Tilquin is a must. They are a more successful blender than the Magic Bullet.