Thursday, September 25, 2014

Brasserie Cantillon Zwanze Day at Crooked Stave Barrel-aging Taproom

September 20 was Zwanze Day! This year it was held at Crooked Stave Cellar taproom. The festivities started early in the morning with the line going around the building. We were lucky that a friend held a space for us. While waiting for the brewery to open, the beers were flowing outside with everyone bring something to share.  We were in the presence of one of the largest bottle shares of beers from all over the world. 

Cantillon Brewing makes Lambics which can be categorized as sour ales with some being more than others. I have noticed that over the years sour ales have become too popular for my own liking which if you ever tried to get tickets to the Avery Brewing Sour fest will know why. But today was a good day to be apart of this crowd of sour ale enthusiasts.

Zwanze Day is when Cantillon Brewery in Brussels sends kegs of their delicious beers all over the world and is to be poured on the same day at same time. Zwanze translates to "Foolish" in Flemish and is a one-off beer that can only be tasted on this day.

At 11:00 am, the line started to move towards the entrance of the brewery. As we walked along the side of the building there were reminisce of employ bottles lined up against the wall.  The staff of Crooked Stave came around asking for Id's then banking us as legal to precede to on our way to the next step. The end of the line under a tent was where we exchanged tender $20 for our "golden ticket" of a commemorative glass, one pour of Zwanze beer, and one pour of any other Cantillon beer on tap. If you weren't on time to be one of the 150, your ticket was for a glass and a pour of the non-Zwanze Cantillon on tap.

Crooked Stave beers were available at the taproom but the Cantillon beers were being poured in a portable tap system in the barrel room. There were two lines, one for Saint Lamvinus because it was pouring foamy  and the other for the rest of the Cantillon line-up. 
Inside the Crooked Stave taproom.

Line for the Cantillon beers on tap in barrel room.

The beers on tap:
Cantillon Gueuze- is a blend of Lambics of different ages and with different taste.
Cantillon Iris-Grand Cru, an unblended Lambic that was hopped with dried and fresh hops. 
Cantillon St. Gilloise- a gueuze made with 2-year old Lambics.
Cantillon St. Lamvinus- is a rare beer, this one was made with grapes(Merlot and Cabernet-franc varieties) soaked in Bordeaux barrels containing two to three years old Lambics. 
Tilquin Gueuze- a gueuze from Tilquin Brewery in Belgium.

Cantillon Iris!

Cantillon St. Lamvinus!

The Zwanze beer was Cuvee Florian, is a blend of Iris and Kriek where 40% of the fruit Lambic is blended with the Grand Cru. It was cold hopped with the delicate Bramling Cross hops which produced  a touch of bitterness that balanced the beers flavors and bouquet. 

The Zwanze Day beer being tapped with
Chad Yakobson punching our cards.

Cantillon Zwanze Day beer!

At one o’clock, Chad Yakobson, owner/brewer of Crooked Stave, climbed onto one of his barrels and we raised our glasses of beer to the Cantillon Zwanze Day! What a glorious day for drinking Cantillon beer!

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