Cantillon Gueze Monk’s Cafe Cuvee

August 19, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | Filed under Brewer: Brasserie Cantillon, Country: Belgium, Grade: B plus, Style: Gueze.

5% ABV on tap

Tastes Like Beer

(inspired by the Drunken Polack)

I was drinking with a girl sometime earlier this summer who appreciated my appreciation of beer.  She was a beer appreciator appreciator.  But she didn’t really drink the stuff herself.  More of a cocktails and wine kinda gal, she found beer bland.  Fizzy, foamy, bloating, watery, and flavorless.  “Not what I drink,” I told her.

“Show me.”

I started with a bottle of the brilliant Boulevard Smokestack Saison-Brett.

“Tastes like beer,” she said.

But it has funky Brettanomyces in it!  Without question you have never had something with Brett it in before.

“Tastes like beer,” she reiterated.

I switched to a Trappistes Rochefort 8.

“Tastes like beer.”

But it’s a nearly 10% Belgian strong dark ale.  Packed with dark fruits and sweet malts you have surely never encountered before in the Miller Lights you’ve drank your whole life.

“Tastes like beer.”

I amped it up a notch with an Oak Aged Yeti.

“Tastes like beer.”

I’m stupefied.  The men who have bought you drinks your whole life have absolutely never given you a barrel-aged imperial stout as dark as squid ink.

“Tastes like beer.”

This was a derisive statement to her.  “Tastes like beer” was akin to “Tastes like shit.”  Which is funny, because most of the time when I give a man a taste of one of my “fancy” beers–say a barley wine or a nearly-flat 15% stout or even a real hoppy DIPA–I get a completely different reaction:  “Why this isn’t beer!  What is this?!”

So, I suppose, in that regard, I should be impressed that this women recognized these fluids as, in fact, beer, but distressed that she found them all to be just slightly different iterations of the same common garbage that is most commonly defined as “beer” in this country.  Fizzy, foamy, bloating, watery, and flavorless adjunct ingredient canned products.

I’d be curious whether she’d think the Cantillon Gueze Monk’s Cafe Cuvee just “Tastes like beer.”  Surely not.  How could she?  I had this beer on my first ever visit to arguably America’s most famous beer bar, Monk’s Cafe in Philadelphia.  Cantillon makes this special oud gueze specifically for Monk’s owner Tom Peters, and it is also only available at the bar*.  Nothing excites a dope like me more than buying something that is incredibly limited and rare.

“Would you like to try our special Cuvee de Dogshit, Mr. Goldfarb?”

“Gross.  No way.”

“This is the only keg of it in the country.”


This special Monk’s Cafe Cuvee tastes nothing like beer.  No.  It takes like acid indigestion.  It is soooooo sour.  Puckeringly sour.  Burns the throat going down, punches your uvula like a speed bag, and hits your innards like a napalm bomb.  It sizzles inside of you like Pop Rocks.  That full pint glass was far too much for one little man like me.  But goddamn was it one of the more interesting beers I’ve ever had.  One of the more unique drinking experiences too.  And though I couldn’t finish a full pint, and never really want to have it again, I am so thankful I got to try it.  It’s truly one of a kind.


*“Tom blended this gueuze at Cantillon in February of 2006. This is a one of a kind oude gueuze. Monk’s owner, Tom Peters and Cantillon owner & brewer, Jean Van Roy, tasted every cask of beer in their vast cellar in Brussels (it was a tough job, but I was up to the task). The 3 year old cask offered up the Cantillon House Character of barnyard Brett. The two year old cask offered a medium mouthfeel and a softer version of the house character but with some earthiness. The one year old cask offered considerable citrus, hop aroma and freshness. This is very softly carbonated. It offers citrus and lots of funky, musty, earthy, barnyard notes and it is certainly acidic. One of the most approachable Cantillons made, but it is not for everyone.

8 Responses to “Cantillon Gueze Monk’s Cafe Cuvee”

  1. Aaron says:

    Lucky bastard. I just picked up the regular version of Cantillon Gueze, heard it’s supposed to be fantastic.

  2. Gabriel says:

    I wish there were more gueuzes available in Texas. I find the puke/bile flavors delicious. Lindemans’ Gueuze Cuvee Rene is my favorite all time beer.

  3. Where you at in Texas, Gabriel? If you could find me some Live Oak Hefeweizen I could probably find you some guezes or lambics or some sort of puke/bile beers.

  4. Dave says:

    Haha thanks for the shoutout. I love how you know how I go through this everytime I have my girlfriend try a beer. It’s awesome you got to try it. I really need to get into the Cantillon stuff. Next time I’m up in PA I’ll make sure to get some.

  5. Yeah, with St. Lamvinus and the Gueze, I’m just starting to really explore Cantillon stuff. A neglected part of my beer “studies” so far in my life…

  6. […] LINK “Gueuze (or Geuze) is a type of lambic, a Belgian beer. It is made by blending young (1-year-old) and old (2–3-year-old) lambics into a new beer, which is then bottled for a second fermentation. Because the young lambic is not fully fermented, it contains fermentable sugars, which allow the second fermentation to occur. Lambic that undergoes a second fermentation in the presence of sour cherries before bottling results in kriek, a beer closely related to Geuze.” […]

  7. TixKnizeHen says:

    In each of my characters there is a little of me. Not strictly autobiographical but a little piece of my soul.

  8. Hello! I guess there is something wrong with your site, i tried to open it, but it didn’t opened completely in my Chrome browser. Can you please see what the problem is and send me an email when it’s on again? I really want see this article. Thanks! :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *