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Zwanze Day 2012 Comes To Colorado!

Zwanze Day is coming to Colorado.  Shhh!!!  There’s not much to go around, so don’t tell anyone, OK?  Don’t even read this post.  You already know too much!

Just relax and take a deep breath will ya?  Zwanze Day is almost here, but there’s no reason to freak out.  Read on to get the latest on this Saturday’s world-wide toast with Cantillon.

Cantillon, the legendary Lambic brewery in Brussels, Belgium, began making Zwanze in 2008 and decide to bottle it for an annual release at the brewery.  Zwanze is a spontaneously fermented Lambic and the bottles that were released at the brewery from 2008-2010 were highly sought after by craft beer lovers around the World.  All was well until 2010, when several bottles appeared on eBay for more than ten times the original price.

So in 2011, the brewery decided to keg the entire batch and send it to some of the finest breweries and beer bars around the world for everyone to enjoy.  This year marks the first time a Colorado location has been chosen to receive Zwanze.  Cantillon’s fourth generation brewer and blender, Jean Van Roy, chose the Crooked Stave Barrel Cellar in Denver to participate in this years’ Zwanze Day, which has turned into a world-wide tapping and toasting party.

On Saturday, December 1st at 1 PM MST, wild beer fans from all over the Rocky Mountain area will descend upon Chad Yakobson’s Crooked Stave Barrel Cellar for a chance to try this unique beer and raise a glass with beer lovers around the world.  Crooked Stave is one of only 35 beer destinations across the globe, 15 of which are in the U.S., to receive the coveted brew.

Chad and the Crooked Stave Team are preparing for a big crowd on Saturday.  They’ll be opening up the Barrel Cellar to accommodate the gathering of loyal beer hunters.   Chad says this will be a first-come, first-serve event and they’ll be using a ticketing system to keep things as fair and orderly as possible for attendees.  The doors will open at noon and ticket holders will be allowed to purchase 2 pours of beer (1 Zwanze and 1 yet unnamed Cantillon) plus a Zwanze day glass for what is expected to be a $20 (CASH ONLY) price tag.

There will only be 150 pours of Zwanze on Saturday and jokes have already started buzzing around about how early beer nerds will begin lining up for the festivities.  Those ARE jokes right guys?  I hope.  I mean, we just survived the Black Friday shenanigans and that was just over TV’s…  This is about BEER, which is obviously way more important than any TV could ever hope to be.  Do we at least have time to run home for a shower and a hot meal before heading back out to line up for Zwanze Day?  A low-key, in-line bottle share has been discussed as well, but it remains unclear if the powers that be (i.e. local laws and surrounding businesses) will allow a bottle share to take place or not.  If not, I’m pretty sure Crooked Stave will have some beauties on tap to share.

Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project is located at: 1441 W 46th Ave, Unit 19, Denver, CO 80211. 720-508-3292.

Here’s a few more details about this year’s Zwanze Day straight from Cantillon’s Jean Van Roy:

When in early April we brewed a top-fermentation beer which was to become Zwanze 2012, we hoped that it would be ready 3 or 4 months later so that we could organise another Zwanze Day sometime in September.

However, since we are working in the very specific environment of traditional Lambic brewery where natural yeast flora reign supreme, even a top-fermented beer can take control of its own destiny. As such, on the occasion of a final tasting session at the end of June it became crystal-clear that the Zwanze 2012 would not be ready in time and that it would, we hope, become Zwanze 2013.

Seeing that we had received numerous requests to organise a Zwanze Day this year we decided to recreate the very first Zwanze produced in 2008. As a reminder, that year’s vintage had been brought about by soaking rhubarb in Lambic. The ultimate result of that experiment was a very delicate and complex product in which the beer’ acidic taste struck a very nice balance with the plant’s tartness and then lingered long on the palate.

For this new production batch we decided to work with organically-grown rhubarb, and you can really taste this in the beer, which is more structured and full-bodied than the 2008 vintage. We opted to recreate the rhubarb Lambic because very few consumers had been able to taste this beer 4 years ago, when only 300 litres had been produced. On top of this, unlike fruit crops, rhubarb production was not adversely affected by the very poor weather which hit Europe this spring. And finally, the last, perhaps most important reason of all for bringing back Zwanze 2008: my wife tells me it’s one of her favourites.

Of course, because of the delays encountered with the first Zwanze we will not be able to hold this year’s Zwanze Day in September. Instead, Zwanze Day 2012 will take place on Saturday, 1 December at the 30 or so locations around the world listed below.

I wish you all an excellent Zwanze Day!

    • America – USA :
      • Armsby Abbey – Worcester, Massachusetts
      • Avenue Pub – New Orleans, Louisiana
      • ChurchKey – Washington, D.C.
      • Crooked Stave Barrel Cellar – Denver, Colorado
      • Holy Grale – Louisville, Kentucky
      • Hop and Vine – Portland, Oregon
      • Lord Hobo – Cambridge, Massachusetts
      • Monk’s Café – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
      • Novare Res Bier Café – Portland, Maine
      • REAL a gastropub – Honolulu, Hawai’i
      • Redlight Redlight – Orlando, Florida
      • Spuyten Duyvil – Brooklyn, New York
      • The Foundry – Kansas City, Missouri
      • The Trappist – Oakland, California
      • Toronado – San Diego, California
      • West Lakeview Liquors – Chicago, Illinois
    • America – Canada :
      • Canada – Montréal : Dieu du Ciel
    • Europe :
      • Belgium – Brussels : Moeder Lambic Fontainas
      • Belgium – Brussels : Moeder Lambic Saint-Gilles
      • Belgium – Arlon : Mi-Orge Mi-Houblon
      • France – Paris : La Fine Mousse
      • France – Lille : La Capsule
      • Great Britain – London : The Earl of Essex
      • Italy Rome : Ma Che Siete Venuti A Fà
      • Italy Bergamo : The Dome
      • Italy Nicorvo : Sherwood Pub
      • Italy – Quinto Vicentino : The Drunken Duck
      • Italy – Quartu Sant’Elena : Ristopub Margherita
      • Norway – Grimstad : Nøgne Ø
      • Finland Helsinki : Pikkulitu
      • Denmark Copenhagen : Olbutikken
      • Netherlands – Amsterdam : De Bierkoning
      • Sweden Stockholm : Akkurat
      • Spain – Sant Joan de Mediona : Masia Agullons
    • Asia :
      • Japan – Tokyo: Embassy of Belgium

In all seriousness, everyone just remain calm and good luck this weekend beer hunters!  It’s only beer.  Right?  This post will self destruct in 3… 2… (Cheers!) 1…

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2 responses

  1. Pingback: Weekend Beer Buzz 11/29/2012 « Brewtally Insane!

  2. Pingback: Colorado Beer Lovers Celebrate Zwanze Day At Crooked Stave « Brewtally Insane!