Boon Geuze Mariage Parfait 375ML

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ABV 8%
When you encounter a truly outstanding beer such as this one, you find yourself wondering why you bother drinking anything else, since even beers you've quite enjoyed pale into mediocrity in comparison. Artisanal revivalist Frank Boon operates from Lembeek, the village in the Zenne valley that gave its name to the spontaneously-fermented lambic family, and this Geuze (deliberately spelt in the Dutch way) is one of his ultra-premium beers, blended from his own selection of lambics aged at least three years, and produced with a self-imposed limit of 6,000 litres a year. The beer expresses the characteristic sourness of lambic without being forbiddingly sour, sweetening the pill not with sugar but with careful blending of aged beers to produce a flavour of great subtlety and complexity, and the unusually high gravity makes for a full-bodied and satisfying quality rather than a noticeably alcoholic kick. It is indeed a "perfect marriage". The beer emerges very lively from the wire-corked half-sized champagne bottle, an amber colour with a bubbly head that quickly subsides. The aroma is very restrained, though there is a little clean grain and some wet woody notes. The taste is initially dry and sour in the invigorating lambic fashion, but soon softens, maintaining the sour kick but mixing it with distinct fruity, spicy and slightly sugary-sweet flavours: pears, lemons, kumquats, wood, vanilla and light spicy tastes including cloves dance against a full, rich body. In the finish the beer shows that salty, tangy, slightly dank character that some lambics share with fine dry sherries, the result of long maturation in wood in the company of a menagerie of microorganisms, and at the very end of the long finish, a last blast of oaky vanilla flavour emerges (Oxford Bottled Beer Database).

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