Cantillon Zwanze Day
When: Saturday, Sept. 17, 11 a.m.
Where: Russian River Brewery
Cost: "We won't know until they deliver it on Saturday," they told us on the phone.
Attention PBR-swilling hipsters: sour beer is the cool thing now. If you haven't made the pilgrimage to Northern California's mecca of 'wild ale', Russian River Brewery, this weekend might be a good bet.
Northern California gets only keg of Cantillon Zwanze, one of the most-sought cult beers in the world. It's scheduled to go live at 11 a.m. We expect the keg to blow quickly, so arrive early.
But don't fear, there are other sour beers at Russian River that are sure to get your tastebuds in a twist.
We've gotten ahead of ourselves. Back up to the year 1900.
That was the inaugural year for a small, traditional Brussels brewery called Cantillon. Its specialty is puckeringly sour beers which are "spontaneously fermented" with naturally occurring, airborne yeast.
As the stateside popularity of sour beer has grown, so has the black market for these and other hard-to-find brews. Last year, Cantillon was disappointed to find many bottles of its annual Zwanze beer being auctioned away by eBay profiteers. The solution? Stop putting it in bottles altogether.
Which brings us back to your epic trek to Russian River Brewery.
This year, Cantillon has kegged the entire production of Zwanze 2011, a lambic blended with a red wine grape variety called Pineau d'Aunis. The brewery chose just 20 destinations worldwide, all of which will tap their kegs of Zwanze at the same time on Saturday in a global celebration of sour beer. And Russian River Brewery was a lucky recipient of one of the coveted kegs.
Grab some friends, hop in the car (this is way too far for a fixie ride), and you'll forget about your Grandpa's blue ribbon beer in no time.