The brewers of Brussels, incorporating indigent yeasts and microbes in their fermenting process, produce a sour beer that defines the word “unique”. These beers are called Lambic and Geuze (a blend of Lambic beers aged in wood casks), and are famous world-wide today. These are truly the wildest beers available.
In the same way that the aromas of banana and cloves mark a wheat beer as Bavarian, the unique sour beer tang of the Lambic is the mark of the genuine item.
The appeal of these brews for mature the drinker is in the sharp sour tang that is the unique character of these brews. This flavor also acts as an aperitif and appetite enhancer. Younger drinkers perceive the flavors as exciting and relish the jolt the sour notes deliver. They also appreciate the rather hefty alcohol by volume content. This same “warmth” is also appreciated by the mature drinker as an after dinner treat when sipped contemplatively.
However, it is only the mature drinker, and only those over a certain age, who can remember beer before the Belgians.
Once, a Belgian bier was a rare treat. The bottled Belgian brews sought by United States beer drinkers in the late 1980’s were limited production products in bottles that were neither 12 oz. or 16 oz. or any other familiar size of beverage bottle. A good number of them didn’t even have labels… just different “coloured” crown caps. This drove importers to distraction when the brewers wouldn’t even consider bottle labels… let alone the labels as regulated by state and federal government agencies in the United States.
And then… a change in marketing “Belgian” beer when Stella Artois was introduced to the United States market.
But that’s another story…