One week from tomorrow will likely be your only chance to taste this year’s Zwanze beer from Cantillon. As craft brewing becomes more popular, rare beers are being exploited for financial gain by people not involved with the production and lacking any meaningful relationship with the brewery. People pick up the beer from the brewery for the usual cheap prices and then sell them on eBay and other similar places at grossly inflated margins. Some breweries, like Westvleteren, take down your information and limit purchasing to prevent against this. This year Cantillon is simply refusing to sell bottles of Zwanze 2011. Two-thirds of the production has been put into barrels and sent to pubs around the world. These bars will all tap the barrels on the same day, September 17th. If you’re lucky enough to live in one of the cities listed below, next Saturday may be your only chance to enjoy this year’s rendition.
“The story behind Zwanze 2011 is one of friendship between a brewer of organic lambic and an organic winegrower, Olivier Lemasson. In 2010 we tried something new by blending lambic with Pineau d’Aunis. The result was quite surprising and wine-like with specific accents of fruit, pepper and other spices, both as regards smell and taste. With Olivier’s approval, and despite a substandard harvest due to poor weather conditions, we recreated the same beer for Zwanze 2011. I subjected it to some very limited cold hopping using Bramling Cross hops, which yields a slightly bitter fruitiness. My friend Rob Todd of the Allagash Brewing Company calls it the «kiss of the hops», and I’ve decided to use this fantastic expression. The balance struck between the lambic, the grapes and the delicate bitter fruitiness is surprising yet very pleasant.”
You can find Zwanze in one of these bars next weekend: