Saturday, October 1 was Zwanze Day 2016 and I am lucky enough to live a two blocks away from The Drake, which is one of only three locations in Canada to serve this year’s Zwanze!

If you aren’t familiar with the event, Zwanze Day is an annual celebration held by world-famous Belgian brewery Brasserie Cantillon, where they brew a small batch of experimental beer and release it at select locations across the globe with a coordinated simultaneous tapping.

This year’s Zwanze beer was a framboise lambic (belgian sour made with wild yeast and bacteria) and the was composed of 82% raspberries, 18% blueberries, and 0.05% vanilla.

The event cost $45 a ticket, which got you four 4 oz (120 ml in real measurements) samples of the Zwanze beer and three other Belgian or Belgian-inspired beers, a commemorative snifter glass, and a fancy ploughman’s lunch.

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Here are the beers that came in the sampling flight:

  • Brasserie Cantillon – Zwanze beer (5%)
  • Brasserie Cantillon – Rose de gambrinus (5%)
  • Gueuzerie Tilquin – Gueze Tilquin (2015 draft version) (4.8%)
  • Holy Mountain – Ceremony dry-hopped brett fermented saison (5.9%)

There were many more beers you could try, but I had to get on to the Fresh to Death festival, so didn’t have a chance to try them. Also, a flight of four 4 oz glasses of the Belgian beers was going for $28. Ouch!

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All of the beers I tried were fantastic. The Zwanze was fruity and delicious, with a mild sour edge to it that made it taste like late-summer. The other stand-out was the Holy Mountain saison—the combination of the tartness of the hops with the brett-produced sourness and the spiciness of the saison yeast produced a heavenly combination.

I’m already looking forward to Zwanze day 2017!

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