80. Cantillon Rosé de Gambrinus

Posted: December 1, 2010 in Avoid even if free, ill-conceived label, International beer, Lambic
Tags: , , , , , ,

Cantillon Rosé de Gambrinus

Company info:
Brie Cantillon Brij
Brussels, BELGIUM



Bottle size sampled: 375 mL

Alcohol: 5%
Standard drinks: TBC

Cap type: Non-twist PLUS cork

Cost: Beer supplied by the good folk at Dunnottar Wine and Spirits

Label info: ‘The Rosé de Gambrinus Cantillon 100% Lambic is obtained by macerating fresh rasberries in two years old Lambic. Its complex aromas and sour taste make this unique beer an excellent thirst-quencher.

Keep at a temperature of 12-15 and serve at 6-7. Beer with taste evolution. In order to full appreciate the fruity taste of the Rosé de Gambrinus, it is best to drink it within one year after the purchase’

What the label really means: They’re banging on about lambic here and I suppose I should explain what little I know about this style (readers correct me where you see fit!). As you know, lagers and ales have cultivated yeast added as part of the fermentation process. Lambic instead basically waits for yeasts in the breeze to come and land in the brew and create spontaneous fermentation. Sounds risky? Well apparently it’s a bit more controlled these days but spontaneous fermentation still remains and since reading of this, lambic has been a style I have been keen to taste. My only concern with this particular lambic is the mention of raspberries being added – uh oh…

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: The label is mostly pink with a red flower sitting in the bottom right. But, it is hard to miss the freakin’ naked woman sitting on the lap of what is either  a randy school boy or a knave. I’m not too sure. The lad sits there with his arm around the buxom blonde who has her head back reveling in the groping as she holds her glass of Cantillon. It’s kind of creepy. What could be a very seductive, enticing image instead has a bit of a Josef Fritzl feel to it. And it isn’t helped by the dancing blobs of brussel sprouts over their heads. It looks like cheap motel art from 1972 and I feel all itchy and weird. The only points worth awarding here are for the wench.

I give it a label rating of 2.5 out of 10.

AROMA: In a blind smell-test I would not recognise this as beer at all. It’s earthy with a hint of musky raspberry-ness. Can’t say it’s appealing.

Taste: GLASS – It pours out a red colour with pinkish froth. It’s syruppy thick and is almost like a slightly watered Cottees Cordial. It has a sour-raspberry all mouth taste that is so full-on it’s making this very difficult to drink. It’s very smoothly carbonated and that is about the only compliment I can pay this brew. I feel this may be an acquired taste beer and I don’t know if I have the time or the patience to acquire it. 

I give it a beer from glass rating of 3.5 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – Very much the same…a bit too sweet, and like the label, creepy.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 3.5 out of 10.


A word from the wife: “Tastes rotten….but I can imagine enjoying it in a champagne flute with strawberries”

She gave it a taste rating of 4.5 out of 10.

Accompanying food: Honestly, I am so loathe to recommend this beer that I can’t even think of something that might accompany this. Any fans of the Cantillon out there? What do you suggest?


Best season to appreciate: The one that involves hell freezing over.

All-nighter beer? No way. Not now, not ever. Given the journey this beer has made (this is another from the Dunnottar crew in Scotland), I hate to say it, but I couldn’t even finish the bottle. Sorry guys.

NEXT WEEK: Innovation

  1. Radio Snivins says:

    To understand the label you need to be famil with the legend of Gambrinus. Fortunately, I am. He’s a hero of mine. Gather ’round. I shall impart my knowledge.

    Once upon a time there was a young, Flemish fellow named Gambrinus. Gambrinus was a lowly glassblower’s dogsbody, and he was in love with his boss’s daughter, Flandrine. Flandrine was a snooty bitch and she wouldn’t have a bar of him. The poor boob was heartbroken so he legged it. He vowed to leg the earth until he forgot her. On his leggings he met the Devil. He of the trident and ruddy hue. The Devil taught Gambrinus how to make beer, which until then didn’t exist. After a couple of rickety Reschs Real Bitter style batches, Gambrinus mastered the art and became the sole distributor of the stuff. He was lauded and honoured with the title King of Beer and spent the rest of his life foozling and floozing, as the label depicts. I repeat, he’s a hero of mine. Here endeth the lesson.


    • Ben0 says:

      Sniv a very acurate and informative history lesson. Thank you. I would like to add to this by sharing some hymn lyrics sung on high by clergyman of Gambrinus’ day.

      (the beat is 4-4 and should be sung of course in the duple rhythm rounders style which was the most popular of the day…)

      Gambinus, Gambinus get back in the store
      There is much glass to be blown, and it’s a quarter past four.

      Gambrinus, Gambrinus where is your head at?
      Can’t you see Flandrine is a tart, and everyone has had a crack?

      Tut tut master my heart is broken
      My beloved has denied me, and I need to run from the jokin’

      Floozing and foozling is how I will spend my days
      ‘The King of Beers’ they will call me, which will end my malaise


      • Mason Hell-Cat says:

        Great work boys! Very impressed with your creative out-bursts.


      • BargeDave says:

        Sniv’s references to the Devil are very appropriate. Many Belgian beers (or their impersonators, such as the excellent Unibrou range from Canada) have labels which show the Devil or images of hell. Which is odd, as many of the same beers are brewed by monks in centuries-old monastries.


  2. BargeDave says:

    I’ve tried very few lambics and will give this one a miss but it is a centuries-old style and probably dates back to times when beermaking was about making alcoholic beverages that were not lethal, and not much else.


    • Mason Hell-Cat says:

      I’ve read a few reviews today from other sites and am really surprised to find they are mostly positive. I cannot find a single bad remark. That many people can’t be wrong – I’ve got to be missing something.


      • Ben0 says:

        Like I said your bottle was no good mate. I can tell by the little black blob of crap at the top of the bottle neck. I bet you a bottle of Crown Lager Ambassador Reserve that during freight the beer was subjected to much higher temperatures than the 12 – 15 recommended.


      • Gee you’re observant, BenO! I’ll take your word on it.
        And you can keep your damned bottle of Crown Lager Ambassador.


      • BargeDave says:

        The use of wild yeast would also presumably produce a degree of variation between batches. That’s an educated guess, not a statement of fact. The other possible explanation for the glowing reviews is that a number of highly praised Belgian beers have very sour characteristics and weird yeast flavours, and simply won’t appeal to everyone. All part of the wonderful world of beer. A bad beer is one which has little taste and/or a mouthfeel that makes the beer seem like it’s been made by dissolving some powder in liquid in my view. Just because I dislike a beer doesn’t necessarily make it bad.


  3. Ben0 says:

    Sounds like it was off Maso. Perhaps the cork let too much oxygen into the bottle ruining the fermentation and hence the syrup like carbonation. Also heat may have played a role?

    Recently I drank a bottle of Corona (I know what you’re thinking beer flavoured water…but it was free!) that was sitting on a hot slab of concrete for at least a couple of months. The beer tasted like flour, no taste, no head, no carbonation…absolute crap.

    Nevertheless and on your recommendation I promise to stay clear of Cantillon Rose’ de Gambrinus…scouts honour.


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