Cynthia @ The Dumon Chocolate Shop in Bruge 2005
We’ve been to Belgium once before, specifically Bruges. Long time readers of this blog might recall the “Maiming Of The Nose” incident where we had to rush Cynthia to the hospital after arriving on the train from Amsterdam.
When plotting the previous trip our friend Bill Shirley was most helpful in suggesting how to go about exploring beer options while we were there.
Cynthia is not a fan of beer. Prior to going to Belgium that time she had consumed less than one beer, pronouncing the drink undrinkable.
It was suggested by Bill that Cynthia try a Lambic, a traditional Belgian brew that is fruit flavored (peach, raspberry, etc.) to see how she would like that.
As it happened, we went downtown prior to our trip and ended up at The Flying Saucer where Cynthia was able to sample a Lambic prior to our journey. She liked it quite a bit and we made a point of acquiring some during our stay in Bruges.
Cynthia actually liking a beer is, well, incongruous. She had the few prior to and during our trip but none since. As we are laying the groundwork for our upcoming trip she’s actually mentioned how much she is looking forward to having a Lambic or three while we’re there (along with samples of chocolates from the some 80+ chocolatiers listed in the Brussels phone directory).
As we were reading up on the upcoming Christmas trip Cynthia found information regarding the brewing process for Lambic. Turns out it is not fermented the way other beers are. With traditional beer brewers, yeasts are added manually to ferment the wort. But with Lambic beer, wild airborne yeasts””present in the atmosphere in and around Brussels””are allowed to permeate the wort naturally.
To accomplish this, the wort is pumped into a copper tub called a “cooling tun” which sits in an open sided building, exposed to the elements where the naturally occurring, airborne yeasts fall naturally into the wort.
It is then poured into untreated wooden barrels where the wild yeast and and wort ferment.
The process cannot be duplicated manually and since the process is the only way to actually produce this particular brew, the Lambic brewers are exempt from any of the the same health standards and regulations that govern all other brewers in Belgium.
This has Cynthia conflicted. I believe the exact term she used was “eee-yewwwwww!”
On the one hand, she finds Lambics tasty and enjoyable. On the other hand, she has to reconcile the fact that the brewing process operates outside of sanitation standards she finds acceptable.
We’ll see how it goes. I wanted to see about touring a Lambic brewery, but just found out they have a tendency to attract spiders that feed on the bugs that are attracted to the wort.
Cynthia says God has quite the diabolical and ironic sense of humor.