Losing My Religion

Let’s be clear: I am not the beer nut in the house. I like my beer, but it is one of many alcoholic beverages that I choose between regularly. I also like my gin and tonics, single malt whiskies and the occasional cocktail (that Graeme is surprisingly good at preparing). Pictured above, however, is my second favourite beer in the entire world. (I’ll have to save a discussion of my favourite until the next time I get my grubby little hands on it.) It is a Belgian cherry lambic that I picked up when I was in Boston back in January, because lambics are few and far between in this neck of the woods. A lambic is a beer brewed through spontaneous fermentation, which results in a sour taste that is both deep and refreshing. Often, these beers have fruit in them as the mix of sweet and tart works really well together. I love the idea of fruit beers generally, and will try just about any fruit beer I find on a menu, but more often than not they end up too sweet and lacking depth of flavour. This is where lambics rule. And the above Kriek Boon cherry lambic is my favourite that I have tried. (The only other fruit beer that has inspired this level of passion in me was one that I had at the Vermont Pub and Brewery last summer that was so good I sometimes think I dreamed it; but it was a limited edition beer and so I have to live with the terrible knowledge that I will probably never get the chance to drink it again.)

I love this beer so much that it can apparently alter my ability to think straight. This past weekend, Graeme prepared a really nice simple dinner of moules et frites, which is one of our favourite meals to pull out when we want to eat something a little bit special that isn’t too laborious.  As various smells filled our kitchen–mussels steaming, broth simmering, deep fryer bubbling–I set the table and considered what I should drink with dinner. I looked in the fridge and found that lambic that had been patiently waiting for me for over three months, and dug it out from behind seemingly a million of Graeme’s beers. I declared that it would be the perfect accompaniment to this tasty Belgian-inspired dinner, and placed it lovingly on the table.

Graeme looked at me skeptically and said, “You’re drinking a beer?”

I was immediately annoyed, wondering why he was being such a weirdo about my choice to have a beer with dinner, especially one that so obviously demanded it. Sure, I don’t drink beer with dinner every day like he does, but did he have to be such a snob about it? I assumed he was being a sexist jerk or something, and pouted until we dug into our mussels, at which point I was distracted by the deliciousness of the spread in front of me.

The lambic, of course, was as wonderful as I remembered it. There is such a specific sourness to these beers that I am not sure how to describe it, but it’s just lovely and smooth and makes perfect sense. It reminds me of something pickled like kimchi, which I realize is a totally nutty comparison as they taste nothing alike, but I mean in terms of the strong contrast of flavours that makes both so exciting to eat/drink. (Ok, Graeme just informed me that kimchi is also wild fermented, which means that I am some kind of tasting GENIUS.) I devoured the beer (sharing a little bit with Graeme because I’m nice), and waxed poetic on the virtues of lambics until I annoyed even myself.

A little bit less than twenty four hours later, on Sunday afternoon, it hit me. I turned to Graeme and asked, “Wait a second, did you ask me last night why I was drinking that lambic because it’s Passover?”

“Of course,” he replied, “what did you think I was talking about?”

“I don’t know, I just assumed you were being a jerk.”

Whoops. Indeed, I had unwittingly broken my Passover diet without thinking, and it took me almost a full day to even realize it. I proceeded to argue with Graeme about why he didn’t just come flat-out and tell me that I was breaking Passover, but he claimed he figured I knew what I was doing. I did not. Somehow, while I am very conscious about avoiding beer during these eight days, this particular brew was so special that I…forgot it was beer. I never even considered drinking one of the more common bottles we have sitting in the fridge–of course not! No beer on Passover! But somehow the lambic was so enchanting that I lost my ability to think things through.

So there you go: a beer so good it made me lose my religion. I love you, cherry lambic. Look how pretty you are, all rosy and tantalizing:

(And I love you too, bread, which I get to finally eat again tonight! Hooray!)