There are plenty of beers around the world that are released to a lot of hype in their home country. Few have grown to match the global fanfare of the release of Zwanze.
The annual release from the Belgian masters at Brasserie-Brouwerij Cantillon is a experimental take on their lambic traditions, with the recipe varying considerably from year to year.
The launch day itself, now in its ninth year and taking in ever more countries, has become something of a de facto rallying event for fans of lambic and spontaneously fermented beer. To wit, the beer is primarily released in draught form in order to curtail bottle hoarders and force people to come together and live in the moment; indeed, even if you buy a bottle at Cantillon's home in Brussels, you have to consume it on premise.
This year, the beer, as described by Cantillon head brewer Jean van Roy, is a two year old lambic blended with a semi-fermented blue-green tea. It will be released around the world on September 23, with two Australian venues chosen to host the launch: NOLA Adelaide and Bitter Phew in Sydney.
Details of what's happening at each are below...
Things get underway at 11am with a private tasting that includes Zwanze 2017, five other Cantillon beers, a Zwanze commemorative glass, a funky cheese platter and NOLA snacks. Tickets are $100 and you can make a reservation here.
At 1pm the bar opens to the general public with the six Cantillon beers on offer:
- Zwanze 2017
- Cuvee St Gilloise
The midday ticketed tasting session has sold out but there'll be plenty on offer when the bar opens to the general public from 2pm.
As well as Zwanze '17 they'll be pouring a range of Cantillon beers plus a couple of extreme rarities from local brewers, namely a Shenanigans birthday Brett beer and the first (and perhaps only) keg from Wildflower:
- Cantillon Zwanze 2017
- Cantillon Gueuze
- Cantillon Kriek
- Cantillon Iris
- Cantillon Rose De Gambrinus
- Cantillon Lambic
- Wildflower (blend tbc)
- Shenanigans Grisette Brett Series