A Rose by any other name would not taste as sour. Shakespeare clearly wasn’t inspired by raspberry aged sours from one of Belgium’s best breweries, and what a shame that was. It would have made his plays much more tolerable. Cantillon strikes again with yet another fruited sour blushingly titled Rosé de Gambrinus – a two year old lambic aged with heaps of raspberries in oak vessels. Let’s crack this fruited sour…
Appearance: Red. Like, really red. Fire engine red. Of course, it has the pink head to boot that very quickly vanished into the beer. No lacing on this guy at all… but man, I’m still in awe of this color, it’s incredible. Pictures can’t do it justice.
Smell: Funk, hay, methane, band-aids, hint of raspberries, and acidity. Typical Cantillion smells leaving this glass, however I expected Rosé to be a bit more fruit forward on the nose. This was bottled less than three months ago, but I get much more funk than I do fruit.
Taste: Much fruitier than the smell would suggest. A raspberry explosion across my palate with the sourness cutting instantly the sweetness of the berries. This is one hell of a lambic. With a lot of young fruited sours, there can be a bit of a medicinal, phenolic quality to them, but it seems as if Rosé is relatively immune to that (pun intended). However, like many Cantillon beers I’ve had, there is a touch of a band-aid aftertaste on the finish, which takes away from the brew. The finish is also super dry and crisp. The second pour of this brew was even more fruit forward than the first and the yeast cake at the bottom of the bottle was actually red. The raspberry flavors spewing from this brew continue from pour to last sip. Tagging along with those raspberries are some cranberry, grape, and lemon flavors which complement the beer perfectly.
At only 5% ABV, this beer is a summer crusher. Nicely sour with great carbonation and a light mouthfeel.
Overall: I’d give Rosé an A-/A. Coolship Red was more impressive than this beer without the strange off flavors, however Cantillon’s offering is still wonderful. A deep raspberry flavor sticks with you all the way through this beer and a puckering sourness accompanies those berries. If you’re a fan of lambics, I’m sure you’d be inspired to write some sonnets afterwards.