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The Beer Circle » Beer, Cantillon, Lambic » Cantillon Zwanze 2012 – Rhubarb Lambic

Cantillon Zwanze 2012 – Rhubarb Lambic

Now that we’ve covered Churchkey’s iteration of Cantillon’s Zwanze Day only one question remains: How was the beer? Typically when we review a beer it covers the thoughts of one person. Tonight you’re getting a review encompassing the thoughts of all who attended!

Cantillon’s Zwanze is a special beer brewed once a year and typically is different each year. This year’s, however, is a recreation of the 2008 variation: a lambic brewed with rhubarb. Why would they re-do a beer instead of make something new? According to Cantillon’s head brewer Jean Van Roy himself, it was because of four reasons: to improve the beer, to make more of it, the rhubarb crop was unaffected by Europe’s recently poor weather, and, most importantly, it was one of his wife’s favorites.

Cantillon Zwanze 2012
Zwanze came out on a tray of glasses with a very hazy body, to the point of cloudy, with about a finger of white head. Plenty of bubbles raise up through the beer, holding the head up. Sunlight shines through the body in small amounts, highlighting the orangish haze and bright yellow color of the beer.
The aroma is of rhubarb and tartness. Russ grew up in a family where rhubarb was grown in the backyard for various cooking purposes, so he has exposure to it and complimented on it in the aroma. Bob, however, doesn’t have much experience with the stuff, and was more stricken by the pucker factor. The acidity overall is very nice in the aroma, as it's sour throughout.
The taste is amazingly balanced. Sour up front, Zwanze boasts a nice amount of rhubarb in the middle that carries it home. It's funky and tart throughout and finishes with a nice dry aftertaste. Greg noted some grassiness and citrus, and Russ liked the berries and lemons. Whatever you taste this simply is another wonderful lambic produced by Cantillon.
The beer has a solid body and is carbonated very well. We thought that, even as the sixth sour beer enjoyed today, Zwanze still stood out and was very drinkable.
Price isn't really the object with a beer like this. We got one of the largest gatherings of Beer Circle folk together at one time that has ever happened and had a great time doing it. It cost $12 for the 10oz, which I would typically describe as pretty expensive. However, given the circumstances, we were all happy to pay.
The overall consensus is that this was the best tasting Cantillon of the da;, Greg was the lone detractor, voting instead for Fou Foune. We found it to be an outstanding sour and loved how the rhubarb and tartness worked together.

Beer Stats
Style: Lambic
Serving: On-Tap
Size: 10oz
ABV: 5.00%
BA Score: 93
RB Score: 100

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Written by Bob Pack, Chase Tralka (Guest Author), Greg Bruce, Kenton Martin, Paige Deckert and Russ Beck

Simply put, Bob is a beer lover. He goes out of his way to try new beers whenever he can find them. The love of trying new beers had resulted in a beer label collection of over 1400. When it comes down to it, Bob is a hop head. He loves IPAs (including double and black). Stouts are a close second. His tweet reviews on @nova_beer are simple and approachable. Let him know what you think. Find Bob Pack on Google Plus

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