When I began studying wine I had my mind blown by how much there was to learn! I spent four years studying wine (in this particular program — needless to say, it’s a lifelong process) learning the nitty gritty about soil types in Bulgaria and the pruning techniques in Japan, and about a quarter of the way through we spent a week talking about beer. I felt like my mind had to slam on the brakes and take a new direction. There are actually very few similarities between wine-making and beer-making. Not to mention that fact that the world of beer is as large and varied as the world of wine, and how did they think we were supposed to learn it all in a week!?? We weren’t of course, but that brief peek into the realm of mash tuns and worts was very tantalizing for me, and I vowed to spend some time with it later. I haven’t, yet, but I do have a couple of friends who are veritable experts on the subject and a ready source of information and advice (one of them will be writing some guest posts in the near future!). What I have learned about beer since my week of study, I learned while drinking at Spuyten Duyvil in Brooklyn.

 It was there that I learned about my love of lambic brew from Belgium, especially gueuze. These sour and complicated beers are very reminiscent of wine, and that is no doubt why they are my favorite kinds of beer. I’ve decided that Cantillon is my favorite brewery and Cantillon’s Vigneronne is my favorite beer. I like everything about it, from the sour Muscat-y flavor to the anthemic label (designed in 1989 by Raymond Goffin). From the website:

“The name Vigneronne Cantillon was given in 1987. This name reminds us that, while it belongs to the beer patrimony, the spontaneous fermentation, the ageing in the barrels for several years and the addition of grapes make it a distant cousin of certain white wines.”

Beyond learning of my fondness for them, I know so little about how they are made, the history behind them, or indeed the names of very many breweries who make them. Check back on this blog for that kind of information soon though, and from a real expert.