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Lambic--is it really that hard to find?

Non Cognomina Jul 26, 2006 10:56 PM

On my way to visit a friend, I stopped by Trader Joe's in Napa to pick up a bottle of Lambic (that's where he usually gets it). But alas they were out of stock. I asked where else I might be able to find a bottle, and the manager I spoke to got a little dramatic and said the next nearest Trader Joe's was "quite a drive" from their store. I asked if there was another area store where I might find it, and his reply was that it's not that common for stores to stock it. I found this difficult to believe. I don't drink much of it (usually only when I'm with my friend) and am wondering, is Lambic really that rare in the Bay Area, or was the clerk simply misinformed/promoting his store (said they'd have it in stock in a few days)?

  1. designerboy01 Aug 27, 2006 10:21 AM

    They use some type of wild yeast to make these lambics I think. They sell them in the supermarket at Associates on 49th and 2nd avenue. There is a really good beer store on Chrystie Street and they got lambics, stouts, abbeys, you name it they got it. I met a drunk there and he showed me some nice Srik Lankan beers. Did Michael Jackson drink that one?

    2 Replies
    1. re: designerboy01
      Jim Dorsch Aug 27, 2006 01:58 PM

      Here is some background on lambic. http://www.saveur.com/article.jsp?ID=...

      Michael Jackson enjoys Lion Stout from Sri Lanka, probably the one you saw.

      1. re: Jim Dorsch
        designerboy01 Aug 28, 2006 05:45 AM

        I drank that too!

    2. b
      beer dude Jul 28, 2006 07:11 PM

      I think that is the beauty of it. You cannot find it everywhere. Only those stores or restaurants that appreciate unusual beers, that go great with food and friends. Try the Cuvee Rene available at very few stores. I have found that i ask my local store to order it for me and many times before i have a chance to buy it have the case is sold to other beer lovers. any way Lindemans just came out with a killer green apple called Pomme. I had it on tap at the Yard house in Orange co. We drank 10 glasses between 3 of us. that is a lot for guys who like big full body beers most of the time. we found our yard work beer. have any of you had it yet?

      5 Replies
      1. re: beer dude
        Dommy Jul 28, 2006 08:15 PM

        Pomme Sounds excellent! I'll look for it! I've been enjoying Lambic for years and am happy to see it gain more distribution. But for old times sake, I would buy it most of the time at the place that introduced it to me, Morrys of Naples in Long Beach...

        --Dommy!

        1. re: beer dude
          Josh Jul 28, 2006 10:02 PM

          Damn - that pomme sounds awesome. Unibroue makes a quasi-lambic called Ephemere and one of its flavor varieties is green apple. I will definitely seek that out.

          I'm not normally a fan of Lindemans (too sweet). For myself, I like a nice Oude Beersel Gueuze or Boon Kriek.

          1. re: Josh
            Jim Dorsch Jul 29, 2006 11:13 AM

            I'm not sure what you mean by quasi-lambic, but IIRC Ephemere is based on a witbier.

            1. re: Jim Dorsch
              Josh Jul 29, 2006 07:07 PM

              The Epehemere varieites I've had have been flavored with peach, black currant, and green apple.

              Here's their page on Ephemere:
              http://www.unibroue.com/products/ephe...

              You're right that it's based on their witbier, though witbier it is not. I said quasi-lambic because it's not a lambic, but the fruit flavors they use make a beer that is somewhat reminiscent of the sweet lambics like Lindemans.

          2. re: beer dude
            w
            wanderlustre Jul 31, 2006 07:43 PM

            I just tried that last night over at Lucky Baldwin's. The guy said it was apple lambic, but didn't mention the name. They're having a little Belgian Beer fest right now if anyone's interested. Cheers!

          3. Morton the Mousse Jul 27, 2006 06:37 PM

            Whole Foods, Andronicos, BevMo and any "upscale" grocery store will have a selection of Lindemans Lambic.

            If you want something better than Lindemans, you'll have to go to a specialty store. Repost this on the SF board and I'd be happy to direct you to a few stores in the Bay Area that have a good selection of quality Lambics.

            1. Josh Jul 27, 2006 04:38 PM

              It depends on what kind of Lambic you're looking for. The fruity Lindemans brand is normally available at Beverages and More, as well as Whole Foods market. Really, lots of places now carry that stuff.

              If you're looking for authentic Lambic, then you're going to have a much more difficult time tracking that down. I'm assuming though that since you usually get it at Trader Joe's you mean the fruity stuff.

              1. d
                Diana Jul 27, 2006 03:05 AM

                No. Bevmo has a good selection. BelgiaN lambic (what's with all this "belgium" stuff? My friend, from Belgium, who is BelgiaN, thinks it's silly. He says it should be "Belgian food, and Belgian beer".) may also be found a some of the more fabulous taphouses and pubs in the area. there are tons of great places there, from 21st amendment on.

                I'm jealous, in fact.

                1. r
                  RCC Jul 26, 2006 11:06 PM

                  Cost Plus in Corte Madera.

                  1. p
                    pkallan Jul 26, 2006 11:04 PM

                    I believe a decent selection of fruity Belgium lambic is readily available at Beverages & More if you have one nearby. Interestingly, now that I have relocated to the East Coast, I am finding a wider selection of all kinds of Belgium beers/ales. Maybe it's the proximity to Europe or perhaps just better distribution penetration than stores in the West Coast. That TJ store manager might be somewhat correct that lambic is uncommon in CA stores. They certainly have the best prices I have found.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: pkallan
                      Non Cognomina Jul 26, 2006 11:10 PM

                      This makes sense to me, as I recently moved to CA from NY where you really can get everything from everywhere! I'll check out other posters suggestions, though. Thanks, all!

                    2. Mrs Fang Jul 26, 2006 10:58 PM

                      Is that big Cost Plus still in SF? They'd definitely have a good selection. Even the small Cost Pluses in suburban LA stock the lambics.

                      Beverages and More has it. Most large wine/beer merchants should have it, but I don't normally see it in regular liquor stores or markets.

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