Sour Glad You Made It

One beloved Belgian brewery has a global celebration day all its own.

cantillonUnless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about sour beer, the brew lover’s answer to beautifully tart alcoholic libations from margaritas to sidecars and sauvignon blanc. Made with the help of wild yeasts (single cell critters) and often wood barrels that impart delicious acidic notes, they’re very tough to make and have an increasingly thirsty, global following. No other sour beer producer is as beloved as Cantillon, in Brussels, Belgium, also known as Le Musée Bruxellois de la Geuze. There the Van Roy family lovingly operates a living museum of beer, where visitors wander among atmospheric old barrels that are still in use for making Lambic and Geuze, the historic sour beers of Belgium, aged up to three or even four years before blending and bottle refermentation.

The best way to drink Cantillon’s sours is wandering among the casks and wood beams of the brewery itself, founded in 1900 by Paul Cantillon. That, of course, requires a serious round trip. Shelton Bros. is the intrepid U.S. importer, but because the beer is so beloved, it can be hard to find stateside. Enter Zwanze Day, happening this year on Saturday, December 1, which the Van Roys organize as a celebration of beer’s best places: the handful of pubs around the world where Cantillon is consistently, lovingly served. To honor those businesses (and cut down on the illegal aftermarket for their brews) Cantillon brews an annual special release, each vintage a unique blend of lambic sour beer and often fruit such as wine grapes or rhubarb (this year’s treat). It’s a great way to taste one of the world’s most sought-after beers and meet fellow adventurous beer lovers in the process.

What’s your favorite sour beer? Tell us below.

And read on for the full list of bars and breweries worldwide celebrating Zwanze Day 2012.



    o Armsby Abbey - Worcester, Massachusetts
    o Avenue Pub - New Orleans, Louisiana
    o ChurchKey - Washington, D.C.
    o Crooked Stave Barrel Cellar - Denver, Colorado
    o Holy Grale - Louisville, Kentucky
    o Hop and Vine - Portland, Oregon
    o Lord Hobo - Cambridge, Massachusetts
    o Monk's Café - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    o Novare Res Bier Café - Portland, Maine
    o REAL a gastropub - Honolulu, Hawai'i
    o Redlight Redlight - Orlando, Florida
    o Spuyten Duyvil - Brooklyn, New York
    o The Foundry - Kansas City, Missouri
    o The Trappist - Oakland, California
    o Toronado - San Diego, California
    o West Lakeview Liquors - Chicago, Illinois




    o Canada - Montréal - Dieu du Ciel




    o Belgium - Brussels - Moeder Lambic Fontainas
    o Belgium - Brussels - Moeder Lambic Saint-Gilles
    o Belgium - Arlon - Mi-Orge Mi-Houblon
    o France - Paris - La Fine Mousse
    o France - Lille - La Capsule
    o Great Britain - London - The Earl of Essex
    o Italy Rome - Ma Che Siete Venuti A Fà
    o Italy Bergamo - The Dome
    o Italy Nicorvo - Sherwood Pub
    o Italy - Quinto Vicentino - The Drunken Duck
    o Italy - Quartu Sant'Elena - Ristopub Margherita
    o Norway - Grimstad - Nøgne Ø
    o Finland Helsinki - Pikkulitu
    o Denmark Copenhagen - Olbutikken
    o Netherlands - Amsterdam - De Bierkoning
    o Sweden Stockholm - Akkurat
    o Spain - Sant Joan de Mediona - Masia Agullons




    o Japan - Tokyo - Embassy of Belgium




More Stories

Copyright © 2012 Bottlenotes, Inc. All rights reserved.

Subscribe to the Weekly Pint

What's Brewing in Beer Culture.

Email Address

Subscribe to the Weekly Pint

What's Brewing in Beer Culture.

Email Addresss