Lambickx Private Domain - Hand Selected Lambic
- ABV: 5.75%–6.5%
- Bottle Size: 750-ml
- Serving Temperature: 47–55° F
- Suggested Glassware: Tulip, Lambic Tumbler, Chardonnay, or Champagne Glass
We’re pretty darn thrilled with how this latest rendition of the Lambickx line turned out. It was originally brewed in 2014, then aged in 600-liter French oak barrels before being bottled in 2016. Our sampled batch was limited to 1,866 bottles, and these Lambickx releases saw a minimal presence in the U.S. last year (only 3.5 cases of the 2015, and one case of the 2016). In addition to the 2016 bottling, we’ll also be pulling from the few remaining 2015 bottles to make sure that we’ll have sufficient lambic for all of our Rare Beer Club members. We were grateful to be able to get enough of this for the Rare Beer Club, as it truly is one of the most mouthwatering and finely tuned lambic offerings we’ve encountered in a long while.
We opted for our go-to and somehow-not-yet-broken Riedel Veritas glasses for this one, but really anything from tumbler to tulip to flutes seems reasonable. This is very much sparkling, Champagne-like in regards, and a smaller glass that lightly concentrates the aroma seemed to be best for us. Your mileage may vary. In terms of temperature range: this one’s always tasty, but having a slight chill to it felt most refreshing while still allowing the oak’s toastiness out.
This blend got poured gently into our glasses to avoiding rousing too much yeast, and these pours tended to have only a modest haze to them. This glows in the glass, though. With a bit of light behind them, our glasses were radiant—honey-golden and sparkling from the steady emergence of tiny bubbles from the bottom. A creamy, similarly fine-bubbled white head is inclined to stick around, leaving a beautiful lacing of bubbles along the side of the glass and being continually replenished from below. The foam from below looks a bit like the surface of the moon. It’s up there with the most visually attractive lambics, sending out suggestions of honey notes and lemon and sparking bubbles waiting ahead—all of which are 100% true.
It would be hard to mistake this for something other than lambic, from the aroma forward. That familiar and so-wonderful salinity and lemon and funk. The aromatics on this version of Lambickx are especially focused around vibrant core citrus notes of sweet pomelos and lemons, that sense of full fruit: pith and zest and all sorts of accompanying tartness. This is mouthwatering, doing everything in its little lambic wizardry book to make you want a sip. Along with that focus on tart fruit is an enormous amount of secondary complexity via its non-fruity elements and oak-barrel aging: hints of vanilla and almond and toasted barrel. A subtle blue-cheese and funky edge do the perfect amount of work providing that authentic lambic feel. We kept on going back to the aroma on this one for the good part of an hour. As this warms up further, some elegant notes of fresh-cut apple and pear emerge as well.
And yeah...it tastes pretty delicious, too. (Our complaints card would be empty.) Everything promised by those aromatics plays out in perfect measure, with that just-fizzy-enough CO2 providing lift for all of the different elements here. While the aroma tends to land more on the sour citrus side, the impact here’s a bit more balanced: juicy tart lemon and grapefruit, a toasty counterpoint of oak and white pepper, and the salinity and funk combine for what’s ultimately bracing but undeniable refreshment sip after sip. This is gorgeous lambic: smooth, masterfully blended, sitting in our lucky glasses and being savored slowly. The blending of lambic is one of the world’s tastiest and rarest skillsets—and it’s on world-class display here.
We hope you dig this one as much as we do. Lambic is definitely one of those styles that, in those instances where we find exceptional examples, can push pretty much every single one of our happy buttons. There’s bracing tartness to remind us we’re alive and the world’s weird right now. There’s immense complexity and depth, nudging us against our worldly cynicism. There’s the effervescence. The subtle tannins and occasional appearance of oak… Drink up.
Both the 2016 and 2015 bottlings are drinking beautifully at the moment, but we wouldn’t be surprised if these lambic blends developed even more with some additional time in the cellar. While some lambics could go decades, we aren’t super familiar with aging the Lambickx line, which has less than a decade behind it. But these feel primed to just keep on developing. As for pairings: we’re inclined to use that refreshing acidity and CO2 against fattier fare, such as creamier cheeses, turkey, duck, etc. We’ll very likely set aside some of this for Thanksgiving.
Lambics are essentially the Champagnes of the beer world, and this month we’re excited to bring Rare Beer Club members an especially tasty example through the mysterious Lambickx brand. This brand is owned by our importing peeps over at Total Beverage Solution, and the Pajottenland lambic barrels that go into each particular blend are selected and tasted by a team led by Roger Mussche, based upon the diversity, complexity, and wild nature of the lambics. (The approach to these blends came from Mussche and renowned importer Don Feinberg, co-founder of Brewery Ommegang.) Given the super-limited nature of these bottlings, we’ll be pulling from both the 2016 and 2015 vintages of Hand Selected Lambic to ensure we have enough for all of our Rare Beer Club members. Most bottles will be from the newer 2016 batch, the 6.5%-ABV version bottled by Brouwerij de Troch in Wambeek, Belgium, with a much, much smaller amount being sourced from the 2015 bottling (5.75% ABV) that was bottled at Brouwerij Strubbe in Ichtegem, Belgium. These have been among the tastiest blended lambics we’ve had in a long while, and the importer informed us they don’t anticipate bringing this lambic back into the U.S. market anytime soon, so these remaining cases of Hand Selected Lambic are rare indeed. There were 1,866 bottles produced of the newer brewed-in-2014/bottled-in-2016 batch, and 5,579 bottles produced of the brewed-in-2013/bottled-in-2015 release.
The blending of lambics, in terms of how frequently one acquires such expertise, is probably up there with professional hang-gliding. Time and again we’ve been impressed with how the creators of this series take a diverse set of lambic barrels and make something that feels just effortlessly smooth and expansive—exactly what we’re looking for from a well-blended and well-aged sour beer from Belgium. The golden and oak-aged sour beers that went into these bottles in particular are especially smooth, more malty than hoppy, and a touch softer on the sourness. We couldn’t ask for tastier lambic blends—and we think our members will agree.
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