The past and the future of Lambic brewing
Kelly van Eeckhoudt er merkvarebygger og "trade activator" hos det nederlandske bryggeriet Lindemans, hvor hun har jobbet i over fire år. Kelly har skrevet et innlegg til oss om Lambic-brygging og hvordan prosessen trues av global oppvarming. Vi i Beer Enthusiast begynte vårt samarbeid med Lindemans i slutten av 2022 og ser frem til fortsettelsen!
Lambic and Lindemans
For almost 200 years the Lindemans brewery has been situated in the heart of “Lambic land”. This region covers Pajottenland, the Senne River Valley and Brussels. It is in this region that you will find the special, specific wild yeasts which give Lambic its unique taste.
Even two miles from the brewery you will have slight differences in the types and concentrations of yeasts and bacteria, which is why when we expanded our brewery several years ago, we built around the existing buildings to ensure the microflora that makes our Lambic special remained consistent.
Each region has its own microflora (the collection of yeasts and bacteria) that depends on various factors like microclimate, soil type, and vegetation. A lambic brewer uses this microflora to naturally or spontaneously inoculate his wort. This is the oldest method to brew beer and nowadays still in use in Lambic breweries.
"In contrast to most other kinds of beers that are brewed with a single yeast strain or pure culture, more than eighty kinds of yeasts play a role in the fermentation process and give a complex and unique taste to our Lambic."
This taste only grows more complex as it ages, which is also an important part of the process. Whether we talk about Young Lambic, which is aged for at least one year, or our Oude Gueuze, which is a blend of one-year-old and three-year-old Lambics, aging is crucial to the production of Lambic beer, and the fermentation and maturation processes take place on oak. Each barrel gives a different result: hints of lemon or grapefruit, a floral aroma, honey-like notes, and many more.
Thanks to the generation-long transfer of knowledge, the sixth generation of the Lindemans family has built up the proper expertise to create a fine, softly tart, dry and crisp Lambic. It is this Lambic that forms the basis of all our spontaneously fermented beers. Lindemans is the world’s leading reference for lambic-based beers.
Robert Renders, Peter Renders and Thibault Renders
To brew our lambic we depend on the characteristic, airborne yeasts, of which the best known are “Brettanomyces Bruxellensis” & “Brettanomyces Lambicus”. During the summer months the high outside temperatures allow other micro-organisms to thrive and affect the beer, but not necessarily in a good way when it comes to taste and quality. Additionally, higher outside temperatures will prevent the wort from cooling to a satisfactory level, allowing the bad micro-organisms to flourish in the brew.
How has the brewing season changed?
Brew master Peter Renders: “We used to have the certainty of starting the brewing season ‘on time’, around the end of September, when the nights are cold. Nowadays, the start of the brewing season can vary due to changes in outside temperatures. This year, for example, the brewing season has been delayed by two weeks as it was still too warm outside. As indicated above, colder outside temperatures are important for natural cooling of the wort.
The future of Lambic beer in a warming climate
In the long term, climate change could cause major problems to brew lambic, extremely or gradually. We don’t want this incredible beer type, one of the oldest of the world, to disappear.
Beer lovers from all over the world are attracted by the traditional brewing process of Lambic beer, by the atmosphere in which it is brewed, and by the heritage behind our Lambic. What you see while visiting authentic Lambic breweries, you can’t see in other breweries. Spontaneously fermented beers brewed by traditional Belgian breweries are based on centuries of beer knowledge, passed down through generations.
“Lambic Land” is not just a region, it is a lifestyle, an experience, a culture.
Dirk and Geert Lindemans, 6th generation Lindemans