See, the thing about vintage beer is we usually never have the willpower to let it age enough before we drink it. Don’t worry, dear beer geek friend. We feel your pain.
Thankfully, we at Koelschip have the answer to that dilemma. Start drooling as we introduce you to… our cellar treasures.
Two of our finest bottles come from a lambic brewery called De Neve, which closed in 1994. The site can still be found in the village of Schepdaal in the Belgian Pajottenland region, and it’s been whispered that geocachers and urban explorers alike have still found old bottles there to this day.
The bottles we’ve found are the 1990 De Neve Gueuze and 1989 De Neve/Belle-Vue blend. The former is one of the most deliciously balanced and well-aged bottles we have. It’s a beautifully tart and citric blend of lambics that have really come into their own with 26 years of age on it. Expecting horrible dusty cellar notes? Well, you get nothing of the sort. Instead, you get a nicely matured beer with lots of tart citric flavour and beautiful carbonation.
The 1989 bottle is a different beast altogether. The story says this bottling was released to members of the board of directors of both Belle-Vue and De Neve when the former purchased the latter in 1989. A lambic blend was commissioned that was only to comprise the finest lambic from De Neve. The bottle was unfiltered, unpasteurized and remained in private possession for years, until a Belgian aficionado got his hands on some. The 1989 blend has a slightly more aged character, but can still boast beautiful lively carbonation and a good deal of zing on the palate from onset to finish.
Another Belle-Vue bottle is the Selection Lambic 1999. This name might ring a bell, as these bottles have been part of the Mikkeller family for quite a while now. Back in the 90s, Belle-Vue also did a range of unfiltered lambic called the Selection series. This was peculiar, as they usually only released filtered and sweetened geuze. At only 675 DKK, this is most definitely one of the finest bang-for-your-buck vintages. Elegant notes of maturation, mixed with a super refreshing citric acidity and even the occasional acetic (vinegar) note. Absolutely riveting and hard to beat in terms of price/quality!
Have you ever heard of Goossens? Likely not. Well, we have a bottle of their lambic blend from between the period 1957-1962 for you. Story is, these bottles were found in a Belgian cellar belonging to a collector who started getting these together in 1957. The man was a “brouwer” (literally: “brewer”), which is also a Belgian colloquial term for a drink salesman who would distribute door to door. He made it a habit of amassing large quantities of lambic from Pajottenland, and it wasn’t until he passed away that his relatives found out he still had a bunch of these bottles lying around in his subterranean treasure trove. We got the last remaining few. And yes, in case you’re wondering: it’s still delicious. Obvious aging notes, but still vibrant and clean. Such an experience!
Can we talk Millennium Geuze? Most self-respecting vintage beer geeks will know about this one. It was a geuze blended in collaboration between Armand Debelder from 3 Fonteinen and Willem Van Herreweghen, the former head blender at De Cam. It’s been hailed one of the best vintages geuzes in existence, and our bottles come from a particularly respectable cellar. One to die for, and the Belgian thinks it’s most likely the finest bottle of geuze in our collection.
Of course, we also represent the biggest names in lambic: Cantillon and 3 Fonteinen. From Cantillon, we offer the Vigneronne 2005, among others. It’s a lambic blend on white wine grapes, giving it a powerfully acidic but very elegant flavour profile. 3 Fonteinen, you say? How about Oude Geuze Vintage 2007 Cuvée St. Valentijn? This excellent vintage, bottled on February 14th; 2007, is referred to as the “honeycomb geuze” by our house Belgian, as it sports beautiful rich flavours of honeycomb while not being sweet at all. We also have the original ‘new-wave’ Framboos from 2011 (released for the first Sour & Bitter dinner in 2012 just before CBC) and the Seasons series. This legendary line-up of four bottles was made to collect some money for 3 Fonteinen after they suffered a catastrophe back in 2009. It was released in 2010 and contains 100% 3 Fonteinen lambic in the blend. It would take another 6 years, until Cuvée Armand & Gaston was released, for them to repeat that. Oh yeah, we obviously have those, too.
One more thing you might want to look out for: the vintage brown bag special. For now, it’s shrouded in mystery. Expect more info soon, though, as the Belgian will soon return from the motherland and is bringing some goodies.
Come join us at Koelschip for something old and something… older!
More info coming soon on tasting events and all that jazz!
Schol, as we say in Flanders!