For Jean Van Roy of Cantillon, the Zwanzes are his experiments, his toys, his babies. It must he hard to see one of your babies go up on eBay for 13 times the price at which you sold it. Especially when you assumed the person who bought it in the first place was someone who would enjoy the beer.
It's that sort of chicanery that led Van Roy to an interesting idea: Why not release the whole lot of it on draft, one day a year, to a smattering of the brewery's most loyal cafés around the world? Well, almost the whole lot. Two-thirds of Zwanze 2011 will go to kegs, Van Roy says. The rest will go to bottles meant for tasting only at the brewery in Brussels.
Zwanze Day 2011 is on September 17. Click on that link for the whole story from Van Roy himself. Luckier lambic enthusiasts will learn that there is a café, shop or bar near them that will be partaking in the event. Ten of them are in the U.S., 10 in Europe (including both Moeder Lambics), one in Canada and one in Japan. I reckon you Brits will have to ponder hopping on the Eurostar.
Says Van Roy:
There is no such thing as a perfect idea and I'm well aware that many Cantillon enthusiasts, bar owners and fans of lambic beers will be disappointed because they won't be able to taste or have their customers taste this Zwanze 2011. I hope they'll accept my apologies but the brewery's maximum production threshold is currently 1500 hl (1300 barrels) and I only have about 1000 to 2000 litres of lambic available each year which I can use to make Zwanze.Zwanze 2008 was a rhubarb lambic (a bottle of which my wife and I recently opened; it's holding up very nicely thanks very much). The 2009 version got a steeping of elderberry flowers. Last year's was a mixed-fermentation experiment in blanche (read: Witbier) done in cooperation with Yvan De Baets from Brasserie de la Senne.
The 2011 version gets its twist from organic Pineau d'Aunis grapes--and from a very interesting idea about how a brewery might release a beer to its best customers while avoiding the profiteers who would extract the most money per ounce.