Post by Matt, the Beer Baron
While I’d certainly love to live in San Diego and enjoy an endless stream of perfect weather and world-class IPAs, there is something to be said for living in the great, white north and having the beers change with the seasons. While there is never a wrong time for a great stout, after the polar vortex-y winter we just endured, it is nice to enjoy a beer that seems like a celebration of spring and to me. Liefmans Goudenband is just such a beer.
Goudenband falls under the broad category of sour beers, which are exactly how they sound: tart, acidic and, well, sour. Normal beer is typically made in a pretty sterile environment using brewer’s yeast while sour beer gets its funkiness from allowing wild yeast strains and bacteria into the brew. In many sour beers, lactobacillus provides the lactic acid that gives the beers their tartness.
Specifically, Goudenband is a Flemish Red Ale, which is also known as a Flanders Red Ale because – you guessed it – they often come from the West Flanders area of Belgium. Really though, names and nomenclature and science aside, all you really need to know is that Goudenband is awesome, complex, interesting, unique and wonderful – and is a perfect beer to ring in spring.
Seriously, you can almost hear Vivaldi when you drink it.
Speaking of drinking it, beyond just sour, how does it taste? For me, I get hints of caramel and malt that you might expect from a dark beer, but also so much more. There are bright notes of apple and cherries and maybe even rhubarb as well as pleasant woody notes that come from the cellaring process.
So, at least to my palate – and your mileage may vary, as they say – Goudenband is vibrant and bright and has notes of spring fruits and fresh woodiness. That is to say, it is about as perfect a beer as I can think of to celebrate spring.
Note: Sadly, the LCBO is currently sold out of Goudenband. They do get it, along with other sour beers such as Cuvee Des Jacobins Belgian Lambic Ale, on occasion. Right now, if you want to celebrate spring with a sour beer, track down a bottle of Lindemans Cuvee Brut, which is Goudenband brewed with cherries!