Fancy Pants Sunday: Oud Beersel Oude Geuze Vieille Vandervelden 137
Brouwerij Oud Beersel dates back to 1882 in the town of Beersel in Flemish Brabant, a province of Flanders, one of the three regions of Belgium. As the story goes, in 1880, Henri Vandervelden managed the fruit harvest for lambic brewery Brouwerij De Kroon in Uccle, Belgium. His experience at De Kroon gave him the necessary skills to continue on with his own brewery. Vandervelden opened his lambic brewery next door to a village shop with a café next owner by farmer Jeromius Hofmans. Vandervelden’s son, Egidius, married Hofmans’ daughter, Catharina, melding the two enterprises into an actual brewery under the Vandervelden name for the next four generations. Egidius passed away at a young age in 1953, leaving the brewery to his son, Henri Vandervelden II.
Henri II graduated from the Institut National des Industries de Fermentation in 1948, and already had first-hand knowledge of the brewing process when he took over after his father’s death. Upon taking over the brewery, Henri II chose the name Oud Beersel to emphasize the artisanal, traditional character of his brewery and also to distinguish himself from what he referred to as “New Brussels.” Fancy Pants Sunday: Oud Beersel Oude Geuze Vieille Vandervelden 137 examines Oud Beersel’s fancy geuze blend of 3-year-old lambics from three foeders.
Lambic-style beers are known for their musty, tart, sour, acidic, and earthy flavors. Traditional methods used by Belgian brewers involve wild or natural fermentation with yeast and bacteria that are part of the area where they are made, which in Oud Beersel’s case, Flemish Brabant. Geuze (Flemish) is a type of lambic made by blending young and old lambics, which is bottled for a second fermentation. Because the young lambics are not fully fermented, the blended beer contains fermentable sugars, which allow a second fermentation to occur. As mentioned, Oude Geuze Vieille Vandervelden 137 is an unique blend that consists only of 3-year-old lambics from three foeders used for the maturation of Brunello di Montalcino, one of Italy’s best wines.
As you might have guessed, Oude Geuze Vieille Vandervelden 137 (6.5%) honors the brewery’s founder, Henri Vandervelden. Released in the spring of 2019, the golden, bubbly geuze is a beautifully crafted beer hitting the nose with funk and must, plus notes of white wine, champagne and lambic sugars. Taste also leads with the funk and must a la horse blanket, with the wine and oak transitioning to a citrus and orchard fruit esters finish plus a gentle acidity.
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