Signature Montana Magazine Spring 2021

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SiG MT 20 Lambic: An Ancient Belgium Tradition TEXT BY MARK BAUNE BEER MAN It's time to point my malt beverage compass towards Belgium, the cradle of farmhouse saisons, world famous chocolate and, more critically, lambics—spontaneously fermented beer considered legendary for its link to the past. True lambics are brewed in the Zenne (Sene) river valley region of Belgium and are considered legendary medieval relics for their link to the past. Today, fewer than a dozen brewers remain out of the 300 that existed nearly 200 years ago. e base recipe, static for centuries, is fermented as if by magic from feral yeast and bacteria flavored with unmalted wheat, aged hops –for sourness, not flavor or aroma, and local fruits. Aer months of aging in barrels while native microbes munch on the sugary broth, a wild, rustic, and complex lambic emerges. e spontaneous fermentation creates a beer unlike any other in its sour, funky, and bright flavors. Beneath the in- your-face flavors lurk dusky, earthy notes that bring complexity and depth to the beer. Lambic beer is, by far, one of the most difficult styles of beer to brew. e main ingredients consist of pale two- row malt (approximately 2/3 of the bill), unmalted wheat (approximately 1/3 of the bill), aged hops, water, and the local native microbes which drive the spontaneous fermentation. e resulting wort is le to cool, fully exposed, overnight in flat metal pans (copper or stainless) called Koelschip (or coolships). Leaving the wort exposed allows the native microorganisms to inoculate it over a 12-hour period, however an 18-to-46-degree Fahrenheit temperature must be maintained to inoculate properly. While the Koelschips are important, a good portion of the yeasty beasties and bacteria come from the large wooden fermentation vessels. Lambic is usually produced between October and May allowing for a 165-day brewing window. Temperatures too high can result in spoilage and throw off the flavors. And now, with climate change, the brewing window of opportunity has dropped to 140 days. Climate change becomes all too real when it starts affecting my beer. I went to my favorite supply shop, A.K.A beer pusher, in search of true Lambic beer. I came across Lindeman's 12-ounce Framboise (raspberry) and a few other Belgian ales –Cherry Chouffe, Delirium red and Founders Blushing Monk. NEW FLAVORS INTRODUCING ICED TEA GREAT FALLS HELENA HAVRE The Beverage Company GREAT FALLS HELENA HAVRE The Beverage Company

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