Sunday 6 March 2022

Remembering Armand Debelder

Armand gave me this bottle of his Oude Geuze Golden Blend (12/03/2014 bottling, 7.5%) in 2015, when I visited the old 3Fonteinen brewery as part of a group of beer writers. He was a fantastic host, a generous and social man who showed us all around and indulged our many questions about Lambik and Geuze, and of course about his and his family's brewing and blending work. 

I've been saving it ever since for a special occasion, and today, sadly, is that occasion. He retired from the brewery in 2019 after he was diagnosed with cancer, and despite the best treatments over the following years, he passed away last night, aged 70.  

Announcing the news today, his team said, "When you read this, open a good bottle and raise your glass to Armand and look forward to Life. Armand wouldn't have wanted it any other way." So that's what I'm doing. 

The beer's a bright golden-brown and sparkling, with a fast-settling foam and a tart lemony nose with hints of cheese and cider. It's tart-sour and lightly earthy, more lemon and apple notes, almost sticky on the finish. A little funk re-emerges as the chill lifts, alongside a faint hint of honey. Lovely. 

RIP Armand. I'm sorry the pandemic and all meant I didn't get to see your new Lambik-O-droom yet. Maybe this year!

Armand De Belder, raconteur...

...and generous host

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