Friday, January 25, 2013

January 25th, 2013 - The Noble and Savage Gueuze

Happy Friday my friends!!  The Meista here with another pairing for you. Tonight I thought we would go with something a little more off the beaten path, something a little more challenging... both the beer and the album.  I am going with a Gueuze Lambic Cuvée René from Brouwerij Lindemans and Planet X's 2002 album "MoonBabies." 

Planet X was made up of Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater and Black Country Communion) on keyboards, Virgil Donati on drums, and Tony MacAlpine on guitar with guest bassists Tom Kennedy, Jimmy Johnson, and the amazing Billy Sheehan.  Of the band, Sherinian said this, “When I started Planet X, I had one goal: to start the sickest instrumental band in the world. I wanted to find musicians that played their instruments so fiercely, it would strike fear in the hearts of other musicians when they played.”  "MoonBabies" is the second studio album by Planet X.  Completely instrumental, the album is a wonderfully dynamic, progressive beast of a rocker.  Donati's drum work is fast, jazzy, and intricate... this guy can both swing and pound away like a mad-man!  Sherinian's keyboard work is equally fast, precise, and engaging.  And MacAlpine's guitar work is beautifully rich in tone and depth and also equally intricate, fast, and furious.  If you are into progressive, guitar-driven, instrumental rock like Vinny Moore or Steve Vai, then Planet X is the band for you!  But unlike those two musicians, who both can go a little overboard with the "noodling," which negatively affects the song structure, Planet X focuses on both musicianship and song delivery.  Songs like "The Noble Savage," "Micronesia," "Ataraxia," "Digital Vertigo," "Ground Zero," and the wonderful finale, "Ignotum Per Ignotius" combine jazz elements, prog elements, spacey experimental elements, and hard rock elements to create a compelling, multi-layered work of beauty!

And speaking of compelling and multi-layered!  Characterized by intense sourness, the Gueuze Lambic Cuvée René is a traditional Gueuze, a Belgian blend of young and old lambics (young [1-year-old] and old [2- to 3-year-old] lambics).  Lambics are traditional Belgian ales that involve spontaneous fermentation with wild yeasts and bacterias from the Senne Valley.  Gueuzes actually go through two fermentation processes.  It is this rather unusual combination of the spontaneous fermentation and the double fermentation that gives the Gueuze such a distinctive, dry, and cidery flavor as well as a sharp, sour aftertaste. The Gueuze Lambic Cuvée René pours a wonderful, hazy light amber with a bright, white fizzy head that dissipates fairly quickly from the high carbonation.  The nose is quite sour with notes of tart lemon, red wine vinegar, a hint of sweetness, and some barnyard funkiness!  The mouthfeel is very sharp on the tongue up front and frothy on the back end from the carbonation with a rather dry finish.  The flavor is quite intense and very tart... "pucker up buttercup!"  There are notes of Belgian yeast, sour apple, white wine, and citrusy lemon along with some more subtle notes of sourdough bread and oak.  As with the playing of Planet X, the Gueuze Lambic Cuvée René is crisp, sharp, and intensely interesting! 

A Gueuze can be a bit of an acquired taste due to the intense tart flavor.  Maybe not the best craft beer for a novice, unless of course you like tart beverages, but if you are looking for something out of the ordinary and exquisitely interesting, pick up a bottle of Brouwerij Lindemans' Gueuze Lambic Cuvée René and make sure you pair it with the wonderful musicianship of Planet X!


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