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De Cam Lambiek Special

De Cam Lambiek SpecialGeuzestekerij De Cam is part of the new vanguard of blenders reviving the ancient tradition of Lambic blending.  Founded in 1997 by a Palm Brewery executive who talked the mayor of Gooik into supporting the revival of Lambic blending as part of the cities cultural heritage and revival, De Cam joined the tiny fraternity of Lambic producers.  Unfortunately, his duties at Palm became too intense to allow him the proper time and energy to continue this project so he began looking for someone to carry the new operation.  This is where Karel Goddeau enters the story.

Karel was finishing his schooling where he was studying to be a brewery engineer.  By chance he stopped in at De Cam to pick up some Geuze and met Willem Van Herreweghen (our Palm exec.).  Willem helped his new friend by setting him up at 3 Fonteinen.  There, two great things happened:  Karel taught Armand Debelder (3 Fonteinen’s owner) about brewing, and Armand returned the favor by teaching Karel how to manage the wood cellars and blend Lambics.

Once Karel graduated, he got a job at Proef Brouwerij to help pay the bills while he helped Willem at De Cam.  In 1999, Willem offered to sell the whole operation to Karel who jumped at the opportunity.  Unfortunately, Karel had to get a new job closer to Gooik to allow him the time he needed to work his Lambic stocks.  He ended up meeting Michel Slaghmuylder at a seminar and began working at Brouwerij Slaghmuylder, brewer of the famous Witkap Pater beer.  This allowed Karel the ability to work at Slaghmuylder during the day so he could work his Lambics in the evening.

Lambiek Special was originally released in the winter of 2012 at a beer gathering as a label-less bottle.  At the time, no one knew what the beer inside was or what the fruit it used.  Once the bottle was labeled and released officially a few months later, the world found out that Goddard had used whole yellow gooseberries, blackberries, & sour cherries.

Appearance: Beer red with amber undertones, pink/tan head, little retention.

Aroma: Lime, gooseberries, light earthy funk, cherry, rhubarb, white balsamic, plums.

Taste: Lemon juice, sour apple, cherry, oak, plums, cranberry like tartness, light spritziness.

Overall Impression: This is one heck of a sour beer.  The combination of Lambic and sour fruit really ratchet up the tart levels.  Certainly not for the feint of heart, this beer’s sourness is more in line with an experienced sour drinker’s expectations.  Complex, fruity and lightly funky, this beer makes outstanding use of 2 atypical Lambic fruit choices.  If you find this limited bottle, pick it up, or pick up two and cellar one.  It shows great promise for aging.  Someday, I hope to try De Cam’s Oude Geuze and Oude Kriek to see how they stack up to other versions of the basic Lambic styles, but for now, these unique interpretations say a lot about the creativity and quality standards of the Goddeau’s blending operation!

Availability: Only in Belgium, as far as I can find.

5.5% ABV

Note: Bottled 08/2013

This beer was sent to me by Kevin at Belgian Beer Geek, thanks!

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