A damp, dark and miserable summer's evening, with the rain sheeting down and the wind howling through the trees: what better time to open Mort Subite Witte Lambic, the Heineken subsidiary's seasonal for summer 2012?
Despite their reputation as back-sweetened alcopop lambic, I retain a soft spot for the Mort Subite range, they being the first sour(ish) Belgian beers I tasted, back when my hair cascaded to my shoulders and there was a Belgo in Temple Bar. These days, of course, I rarely give them a second look but this arrived -- as Belgian beers do to my house -- via one of my wife's business visits to Brussels. Hello old friend, I thought, I like your new costume.
The bonhomie ended there unfortunately. Once the beer poured -- sickly orange with just a slight haze -- my nostrils were assaulted with a blast of plasticky artificial perfume. Tasting gave me more of the same: sugary foam sweets at the bottom of the pick-and-mix bag; that scent granny wears which was probably outlawed in 1956. Awful. And not a trace of any sour lambic character behind it: just water and fizz. At the end there's a residual hint of vanilla which could be something derived from oak barrels but with the sweetness it ends up tasting far more like school dinner custard.
What were they even trying to do here? I demanded an explanation from the label, which told me it had "the subtle taste of aromatic herbs selected by our master brewer". Aye, out of a big plastic tub with a skull and crossbones on it. Gak. Your master brewer hates beer and the people who drink it.
My recommendation is to avoid. Andrew is a little more positive.
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