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gueuze or geuze belgian beer in SF?

augustiner Jul 6, 2008 03:06 AM

i read about this type of wild yeast belgian beer years before, but had never seen it. i'm no beer expert, but i believe that it is a wild fermented lambic beer that is tart and bright. then a few years ago i had an unexpected layover in amsterdam and found a bar that specialized in belgian beer. can't remember the name of it.

the bartender eased me through various beers, and then i noticed a gueuze or geuze (sp?) on the menu, and asked for it. she raised an eyebrow and said, "most americans don't like it." to which i said, rather boldly, "i'm not like most americans." well thankfully i was right to boast!..it was delicious. like slightly sour champagne, but fresh and definitely a...beer.

trouble is that i think she is right, in terms of it being on the market. i just looked at la trappe's beer menu and didn't notice one. i've come across one of these beers maybe three times in san francisco since my layover in amsterdam over four years ago. this type of beer seems particularly suited to summer (such as it is here), and i'd love to drink some more now.

anyone? i'm thirsty.

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  1. augustiner RE: augustiner Jul 6, 2008 03:12 AM

    oh, i just saw that the toronado has two. i don't really like the toronado, though. i'll keep looking. any other suggestions still appreciatedl

    1. psb RE: augustiner Jul 6, 2008 03:31 AM

      The Monk's Kettle has a few but I would recommend going to City Beer or Healthy Spirits
      first ... unless you very specifically are looking for a restaurant/bar setting.

      Note: you can drink at CB. I am not 100% sure if you can consume alcohol at HS ...
      they have some tables and chairs, but that might be for food only.

      Note also: some of these may only come in large [~750ml] sizes.

      BevMo may have some of these cheeper but it sounds like you might be better off
      discussing what you are looking for with the beer nurds at CB and HS.

      Does La Trappe have a beer list online?
      It seems a little "oude" they wouldnt have anything in the gueuze family.

      It would be somewhat humorous if Alembic in the Haight had nothing of this
      kind, but I was there for cocktails and dont remember specifically if they
      had any Geuze. Our bartender did say "flavored italian beers were the
      new thing" so i know they have an interest in european beers.

      5 Replies
      1. re: psb
        psb RE: psb Jul 6, 2008 11:08 AM

        er, for some reason an edit i made to my above post
        didnt make it in, so here it comes again:

        Anybody know of an SF/Berkeley bar/resto/store with
        Rodenbach Grand Cru?

        [i understand the Rodenbach people are making some changes
        w.r.t. to their import business, so that may affect Rodenbach USA
        availability for a while. But apparently there is a Rodenbach clone?]

        ok tnx.

        1. re: psb
          Robert Lauriston RE: psb Jul 6, 2008 11:31 AM

          Monk's Kettle lists Rodenbach Grand Cru on their Web bottle list, though that might be out of date. I had some there in April.

          The Trappist's bottle list describes Van Steenberge's Monk’s Café Flemish Sour Red Ale as "in the style of Rodenbach Grand Cru."

          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            Spatlese RE: Robert Lauriston Jul 6, 2008 04:45 PM

            Since moving to the Left Coast, I've had a devil of a time locating Rodenbach, one of my all-time favorite beers. When I lived in LA, the only place I could find it was in a sandwich shop in the San Gabriel Valley, that for some reason maintained a breathtaking assortment of beers, including my beloved Rodenbach. It's been scarce on the ground up here as well, though relatively recently, I've located a source near my home - Star Grocery on Claremont has had both the regular and Grand Cru bottlings in stock, so my Flemish sour ale jones has been satisfied once again.

            1. re: Spatlese
              Xiao Yang RE: Spatlese Jul 6, 2008 07:03 PM

              Here's a lead you might want tocheck out:


              Healthy Spirits
              2299 15th St, San Francisco, CA 94114

              1. re: Spatlese
                Xiao Yang RE: Spatlese Jul 6, 2008 07:18 PM

                La Trappe (SF) has the Rodenbach sour red on tap.


        2. Xiao Yang RE: augustiner Jul 6, 2008 07:56 AM

          I don't know which menu you looked at, but the currently posted menu has Oude Beersel (an "old" gueuze) on tap. I haven't tried it (so many beers, so little time) though I've had bottled gueuze in the past.


          What SF Needs is a website like New York's beermenus.com:


          1 Reply
          1. re: Xiao Yang
            augustiner RE: Xiao Yang Jul 7, 2008 06:36 AM

            how did i miss that?

          2. Robert Lauriston RE: augustiner Jul 6, 2008 10:15 AM

            The Trappist in Oakland has several, plus lots of other lambics. Three blocks from 12th St BART.

            Last time I was in Luka's Taproom they had Rodenbach sour Flemish ale on tap. Not the same thing but at the same far end of the beer spectrum.

            Luka's Taproom
            2221 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612

            City Beer Store
            1168 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103

            The Trappist
            460 8th Street, Oakland, CA

            La Trappe
            800 Greenwich St, San Francisco, CA 94133

            The Monk's Kettle
            3141 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

            3 Replies
            1. re: Robert Lauriston
              Xiao Yang RE: Robert Lauriston Jul 6, 2008 10:45 AM

              The Trappist doesn't show any on their published beer list, save for a Framboise (a close relative, but the only fruit beers that really tastes like a gueuze to me arefrom LIndemanns). I can't imagine a bar carrying "several" gueuzes.


              Parenthetically, that's an interesting use of Google docs. It makes it easy for a non-geek to udate an on-line list.

              1. re: Xiao Yang
                Robert Lauriston RE: Xiao Yang Jul 6, 2008 11:00 AM

                That's the on-tap list. There are currently 16 entries in the Lambic & Gueuze section of the bottle list, including the following gueuzes:

                Cantillon Classic Gueuze
                Cantillon Rose' de Gambrinus
                Drie Fonteinen Oude Geuze
                Drie Fonteinen Doesjel Old Lambic
                Drie Fonteinen
                Girardin 1882 Black Label
                Oud Beersel Oud Geuze

                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  Xiao Yang RE: Robert Lauriston Jul 6, 2008 11:18 AM

                  My mistake. I mistook the "past brews" section for their bottled list. Rose de Gambrinus, incidentally is a fruited lambic, not a straight gueuze.

            2. w
              Waterboy RE: augustiner Jul 6, 2008 01:39 PM

              Great Scott, man - you drink bottled beer, haulin' A from out of state?

              For a variety of excellent, fresh, cask conditioned Belgians, motor to this brewpub:

              Russian River Brewing Co
              725 4th Street
              Santa Rosa, CA, 95404
              Sun. through Thurs. from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
              Fri. and Sat. from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Waterboy
                Robert Lauriston RE: Waterboy Jul 6, 2008 02:21 PM

                Per their Web site, they don't have any lambics on tap right now. If they haven't run out they have the Beatification, which is RRB's attempt at a gueuze-style beer, in bottle:


                In bottle, the Trappist has Beatification, Temptation (blonde), and Supplication (brown), plus a keg of Damnation (strong golden) coming soon.

              2. p
                pininex RE: augustiner Jul 6, 2008 04:31 PM

                Definitely head out to City Beer. I was there yesterday and they had a nice selection of Jolly Pumpkin Ales from Michigan. Their La Roja is a good version of an American Wild Ale, though not as good as the Russian River sours. They also had some bottles of Temptation. Pretty sure they have Boon Geuze, Cantillon Geuze, and Rodenbach as well.

                5 Replies
                1. re: pininex
                  Waterboy RE: pininex Jul 7, 2008 01:24 AM

                  Have to say, bottled beer is generally a problem vs. fresh. Though I had a stunning bottle of Dogfish Head IPA once, it didn't travel far - Wilmington, Delaware.

                  Rare is the bottled beer that holds it head high, and as time & distance since bottling goes by, expect degradation. Have doubts about Vinnie's bottling venture, but hey, gotta make $$. Maybe he'll succeed this close to his brewery?

                  1. re: Waterboy
                    Xiao Yang RE: Waterboy Jul 7, 2008 07:29 AM

                    Not sure which beers you are talking about, but most good ales are bottle-conditioned, an may actually improve with age. Stronger brews also tend to have better "legs." We're not talking Budweiser here.

                    1. re: Waterboy
                      Robert Lauriston RE: Waterboy Jul 7, 2008 08:16 AM

                      To elaborate on Xiao Yang's point, most lambics are bottle-conditioned. Russian River's Web site says, "our Belgian style ales are 100% bottle conditioned ...":


                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                        pininex RE: Robert Lauriston Jul 7, 2008 09:41 AM

                        Russian River also mentions that these beers come into their own two years after their bottled-on date. They can be aged up to five years. You definitely would not want to sit on an IPA or IIPA unless you want all hop characteristics to be turned into a sweet, malty mess.

                      2. re: Waterboy
                        The Dive RE: Waterboy Jul 7, 2008 11:14 AM

                        I think a slight degradation in quality is a fair trade-off for being able to have a Pliny whenever I want. That said, I think RRBC does an excellent job with its other bottled beers and I can't imagine that Pliny and Blind Pig will be any different.

                        I think some bottle beers do suffer from shipping and storage issues. I was definitely more impressed by some of the bottles I had during my recent trip to Belgium and Amsterdam than when I had the same bottled beers at the Trappist. Not necessarily the Trappist's fault -- just the timing of the shipping. Of course, sometimes you want to age a beer (I've had good lucky with even some hoppier styles, such as the Stone's Anniversary ales, benefitting from some degree of aging. But the belgian styles are definitely good candidates for that).

                        That said, I think City Beer has good turnover and I feel the bottles are always very fresh. Luka's bottles also generally seem very fresh.

                        Re the Gueze, I agree with all the other suggestsions. I would also add Ledger's to the list.

                    2. augustiner RE: augustiner Aug 8, 2008 04:37 AM

                      i don't prioritize very well..thanks everyone for the suggestions, but i haven't managed to quench this particular thirst yet. i do intend to report back.

                      1. m
                        metric RE: augustiner Nov 24, 2008 05:33 PM

                        La Trappe has about 9 Gueze's (some not listed) and Rodenbach Grand Cru on tap

                        1. bbulkow RE: augustiner Dec 4, 2008 10:32 PM

                          If you go to Belgium, most of the Geuzes are in bottles. You can tell because they're bottled like champaign, with the wired-on cork. I remember one place in Liege with a huge paper mache foot hanging from the ceiling that had a large selection of bottles, no taps at all.

                          Last one I had was a few months ago at The Trappist in Oakland, and it was terrific. Can't remember which it was, though.

                          I suppose I'm sorry to be posting to an old thread. But it's a thread from this year at least.

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