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Boon Meerts (Tilquin)

Gueuzerie

ABV: 4%
Origin: Lembeek, Vlaams-Brabant, Vlaanderen
Website: www.gueuzerietilquin.be, www.boon.be

Wooden former wine barrels at Gueuzerie Tilquin

Meerts is something of a forgotten member of the lambic family, though a couple of centuries ago it was ubiquitous in the historic brewing region. It’s the spontaneously fermented equivalent of small beer, made with the last, low gravity, runnings from the mash tun as an everyday refresher. It was drunk in place of water in the days when the latter in its unboiled state was often unhealthy, and like many of its equivalents elsewhere, declined as a beverage in its own right once safe water and soft drinks became widely available.

Still it’s remained in use as a blending beer, and Frank in particular makes a virtue of brewing meerts for inclusion in his faro and lighter fruit beers. Meerts is made from the third runnings of the mash (the first runnings comprise the liquid in which the grains were mashed, so the third runnings are the results of a second rinsing with further hot water). beers are on the strong side — the standard lambic comes out at 6% — so the meerts is still a respectable 4%.

The beer as matured at the Boon brewery occasionally surfaces at festivals, but I got to taste a version at the new Wallonian lambic blender Gueuzerie Tilquin, where Pierre Tilquin uses it as a key component of his draught geuze. My sample was less than a year old and dispensed straight from one of Tilquin’s 400l French oak barrels.

The pale yellow beer was dead flat, with a grapefruity aroma yielding notes of agricultural funk and a perfumed whiff of pineapple. The palate was lightly tart and gently but definitely sour, with a light milky texture, notes of grapefruit and straw, and some lambic complexity. A very refreshing and tangy finish mellowed with a bit of nuttiness, and a lingering slightly sugary note.

Read more about other versions of this beer at ratebeer.com: http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/boon-meertse/73618/

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