The new barrel-aged Gin Peche Lambic can be tasted at Santiam Brewing in Salem.(Photo: ANNA REED / Statesman Journal)Buy Photo
Trying to ride a wave of popularity of Belgian-style sour ales, Santiam Brewing is launching a sour beer program, kicking it off with the release of Gin Peche Lambic.
I tasted the Lambic along with Santiam’s other lineups with beer panel members Saerom Yoo, Erich England and David Davis last weekend, and the Lambic left all of us with happy smiles.
The Lambic is a wonderfully light-bodied sour ale that’s been subtly infused with peach and apricot and aged in oak gin barrels for 18 months. Yup. You read that right. Eighteen months. It’s crisp, dry and just oh so slightly tart, and you get rich peach and apricot notes mingling around mid-palate, just before, slurp, you swallow.
I caught up with the mastermind behind the beer, co-owner Ian Croxall, last week to talk about the beer and the promise of possibly more sours coming out of Santiam’s taps in the future.
“Sour beers are rising in popularity, and there are only a few people in Oregon making good sours, so we saw an opportunity — a hole in the market — that we could fill,” Croxall said. “Plus we really like it.”
Co-owners Ian Croxall (left) and Jerome Goodrow stand with glasses of the new barrel-aged Gin Peche Lambic at Santiam Brewing in Salem. (Photo: ANNA REED / Statesman Journal)
The beer recipe was one that Croxall had developed when he was home brewing. “We just scaled it up and brewed it, and it came up right.”
The beer undergoes two fermentation stages. The first one uses conventional yeast. After the first fermentation, peach and apricot puree is added along with wild yeast and placed into barrels that were first used to make pinot noir and then gin by Rogue Distillery, Croxall said. The beer then aged for 18 months in the barrels before Croxall and brewer Jerome Goodrow felt it was ready. Then they blended the barrels and kegged the beer. A total of eight barrels of the beer were made, which translates into 20 kegs.
If you want to taste this beer, you’ll have to go to the tasting room. And it’s worth it. Believe me. And don’t expect to be able to fill your growler with it either. This stuff is sour gold, and it’s being rationed out for everyone’s enjoyment in 10-ounce pours. DARN!
Good thing is you can go back multiple times as long as it lasts. I’m going to need to put a reminder on my outlook calendar!
Anyway, as soon as the barrels were emptied, another batch went in, so hopefully in 18 months we’ll have more Gin Peche Lambic.
In the meantime, coming soon is a Flemish sour red cherry ale, also aged in barrels, called Flaams Rode.
“We’re happy with how it’s coming along, and we’ll probably keg it in about a month,” Croxall said. The brew is aged in rum barrels that were used to make Pirate Stout.
When I asked whether there were more sours on the horizon, Croxall said maybe.
If the Flemish sour cherry ale is as good as Gin Peche, I sure hope so.
Victor Panichkul is food, wine and beer columnist for the Statesman Journal. Reach him at (503) 399-6704, Vpanichkul@StatesmanJournal.com, Facebook.com/FoodWine and on Twitter @TasteofOregon.
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Address: 2544 19th St. SE
Hours: Noon to 8 p.m. Mondays-Wednesdays, noon to 10 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 2 to 10 p.m. Sundays
Phone: (503) 689-1260
Venti’s Cafe and Taphouse will be hosting a Salem release party for Santiam’s Gin Peche Lambic. There will be some swag given away too.
When: 6 to 8 p.m. May 28
Where: 2840 Commercial St. SE
Saerom Yoo (Photo: DANIELLE PETERSON / Statesman Jo)
Saerom Yoo, health reporter
Favorite craft brews: Double Mountain Lulu, Fort George 3-Way IPA, Pfriem Blonde IPA
Favorite mass-market brews: Dos Equis, Modelo, Tecate
Beer turn-off: Overly malty or sweet
Favorite beer food: Tacos or a nice medium-rare burger with fries
★★★★½Gin Peche: I love it! Peachy, wheaty, a bit tart and perfect for spring or summer drinking. So yummy.
★★★★☆Bramble On: Smooth, wheaty slight malt with subtle raspberry at the end.
★★★★☆Infiltrator: Floral, bitter, nice summery beer.
★★★½☆1859 Maibock: Very slightly malty, very drinkable lager.
★★★½☆Idolator: Kind of slightly syrupy, malty and nutty.
Erich England (Photo: Special to the Statesman Journal)
Erich England of Portland
Favorite craft brews: Double Mountain Kolsch, Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA, 10 Barrel Swill
Favorite mass-market brew: Olympia — “It’s the water”
Beer turn-off: Anything too sweet or too bitter
Favorite beer food: Chicken wings and tots
★★★★☆Gin Peche Lambic: Highly enjoyable sour. The sour is delightfully balanced and isn’t overpowering in the slightest. I think this is a great spring beer.
★★★★☆Lacey Lady: A good session. A fair balance of malt and hop. This would be delightful while grilling in the warm summer months.
★★★½☆Infiltrator: A sweet, honey nose. Very floral flavor, with light hops to boot.
★★★½☆Gillian Carroll’s Irish Stout: Strong, rich malt. Creamy as well. I want to drink this sitting out by a fire.
★★★½☆Branble On: Sweet raspberry nose. A slight sour note, the raspberry shines through. A good light paddle if you are looking for a something with fruit.
David Davis (Photo: Statesman Journal)
David Davis, digital producer
Favorite craft brews: Deschutes Chainbreaker White IPA, Ninkasi Spring Reign
Favorite mass-market brews: Rainier, Olympia
Beer turn-off: Overwhelming bitter flavors or long-lasting aftertastes
Favorite beer food: Soft pretzels
★★★★½Gin Peche Lambic: Peachy nectar up front, full mellow sour that doesn’t overwhelm and finish that complements the whole.
★★★★Pirate Sout: The coconut notes settle into a toasty relationship with the earthy stout tones.
★★★½Coal Porter: Bold flavor that lives up to the name with pleasing earthy notes.
★★★½Spitfire ESB: Sour flows nicely with the hops.
★★★½Bramble On: Well-balanced raspberry notes complement the familiar pale ale formula.
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