Brouwerij Timmermans - Framboise Lambicus
Serving Temperature:45-50° F
Suggested Glassware:Tulip, Flute, Snifter
Meaning "raspberry" in French, framboise (pronounced "frahm-bwahz") is one of the most traditional and commonly-made fruit lambics, along with kriek (cherry) and pêche (peach). Not surprisingly, Timmermans' Framboise Lambicus pours quite red with a robust, fluffy head of foam sporting a hint of pink. On the nose, look for that raspberry character to be immediately apparent, with perhaps some other berry-like impressions such as a touch of blackberry. A light undercurrent of toasty malt peaks through as well, and we picked up a hint of woodiness from the beer's maturation in oak barrels. The raspberry character is front and center on the palate too, bolstered by a traditional lambic tartness. Sweetness is noticeable too, though we were pleased that it never reaches the cloyingly high levels of some less traditional fruited beers. Instead, the sweetness finds itself nicely balanced by the tartness, which we also found approachable and nowhere near the bracing sourness of an aged Oude Gueuze lambic. Made with 30% wheat, there's a bit of a wheaty tanginess here too, which merges into the tartness quite seamlessly. Carbonation adds some lift to the palate and helps keep the overall impression lively and refreshing. At only 4% ABV, this framboise is easily sessionable and makes a great pairing with various fruity desserts like fruit tarts or pies. Cheers!
Timmermans proudly claims the title of the world's oldest lambic brewery, dating back to 1702. Lambic is a style of spontaneously-fermented beer that is brewed exclusively in the Zenne valley within a 15-km radius of the center of Brussels, Belgium. What makes lambic so unique is that the beer is not inoculated with standard Saccharomyces cerevisiae brewers yeast like most other beers; instead, the beer is exposed to the local air, picking up wild Brettanomyces lambicus and Brettanomyces bruxellensis yeasts which ferment the beer naturally and lend acidity, sourness, and what we beer geeks refer to very scientifically as "funk." Some lambics are enjoyed young and fresh while others are aged for up to three years or longer. Additionally, many lambics are brewed with fruit, usually cherry (kriek), raspberry (framboise), or peach (pêche), which creates a wholly unique drinking experience.
Spontaneous fermentation is the oldest form of brewing, and lambic, specifically, has been produced in Belgium at least as far back as the 1200s. Around 300 lambic breweries were in operation in 1900, but today there are fewer than a dozen brewers keeping this traditional style alive—although with the growing worldwide craft beer renaissance, the interest and demand for lambic is growing stronger and stronger. Sour ales, inspired by traditional lambic, are being produced in ever-increasing amounts by brewers here in the U.S. as well as in various countries overseas, so the future looks quite bright for this ancient style of beer.
Timmermans can trace its roots back to 1702 when what was known at the time as the Mole Brewery was founded in Itterbeek, not too far from the center of Brussels. Owned by Jan Vandermeulen, the property also included a cafe, malt-house, orchard, and farm. During the 19th century, the brewery produced beer to meet the requirements of the stagecoach relay station, where horses were changed and travelers could grab some food and drink before heading on their way.
The brewery came into the hands of the Timmermans family in 1911, when Gerardus Franciscus Timmermans and his wife, Celina, inherited the property from Celina's family. Not long after, the orchard, farm, and relay were shut down so full attention could be paid to the brewery. These days, Timmermans produces a wide range of lambic beers including aged versions and fruited versions like this month's featured Framboise Lambicus. For more info on the brewery, visit them at brtimmermans.be/en/.
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