As a regular consumer of fine craft beers I find that on occasion, especially on a bright, warm summer day, I crave a robust, acidic fruit beer. The answer for most people would be a popular style such as Pyramid Apricot, but why not try something a little more refined and fruit forward, like a fruit Lambic.
I prefer to have a bottle of raspberry Lambic at my house at all time. When the day has left me spent and I feel a need to treat myself, a delicate tall glass of the vibrant red beer seems to relax my cares away.
Lambics are a style of beer that are spontaneously fermented. These Belgian wheat beer are traditionally brewed in open vats in the winter, thus allowing the wild airborne yeasts and bacterias to drift onto the surface of the wort and begin fermentation. In the case of fruit Lambic, the brewers will add fruit during fermentation or add fruit syrup to the finished fermented beer. In both cases, the characteristics are the same; a tart, crisp, lightly carbonated, refreshing ale. Fruit Lambics come in a variety of fruit flavors. Fruits traditionally used were sour cherries (with pits), raspberries or Muscat grapes. You can also find more nontraditional varieties such as peach, banana, Merlot grapes, cassis (black currant,) apricot, apple, cloudberry, blueberry, plum and pineapple.
Try your favorite flavor fruit Lambic with a wonderful scoop or two of vanilla ice cream as a light summery dessert option. Yummy!!
Why not turn up the volume!?! Start with high quality vanilla ice cream, carefully add a raspberry Lambic ( I recommend Lindemans Framboise Raspberry Lambic, easily found at most Albertsons, New Seasons or any specialty beer store, such as John’s Market or The Beer Mongers), finally finish by spooning over fresh raspberries or fresh raspberry puree, and a small amount of rich chocolate sauce.
Use your favorite fruit Lambic in a sorbet recipe. Food & Wine has a simple recipe that anyone could make, with the help of an ice cream maker, of course.
Inspired by the Brewers Salad at McMenamins, here is an intensely flavorful salad that from my experience, EVERYONE loves.
Begin with slicing red onion thin and marinate in equal parts raspberry Lambic and red wine vinegar. By marinated the onion, the overpowering onion flavor is subdued, leaving pretty pink mild onion slices. Next, prepare the vinaigrette in a bowl, add 1/4 cup red wine vinegar with a 1/4 cup raspberry Lambic and finely minced garlic. While whisking slowly drizzle in 3/4-1 cup of good olive oil, finish with salt and pepper to taste. If the dressing is too acidic for your taste, add a pinch of sugar or a dash of agave. To assemble the salad, begin with lightly dressing salad greens with the vinaigrette. Top the greens with your favorite blue cheese or gorgonzola, toasted hazelnuts and the marinated onions. Great with roasted chicken or a nicely seared steak. Enjoy!!!