Cantillon Brewery of Brussels announced today the details of a beer that it will release for the upcoming globally celebrated Zwanze Day. The first Zwanze Lambic was brewed and released by Cantillon in 2008 and was blended with rhubarb. Through 2010, the rare craft brew had developed a black market for sales, including bottles going to the highest bidder on E-bay. Its popularity throughout the world and mass cult following eventually catalyzed a celebration of the phenomenon it created.
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In 2011, after four annual releases — each being the Zwanze Lambic with a different ingredient added — a simultaneous worldwide release party was commissioned by the brewery. It was said at the time under new owner and fourth-generation brewer at Cantillon, Jean-Pierre van Roy, that the brewery did not want the Zwanze vintages to be exploited for marketing purposes and that not a single bottle would be sold directly by Cantillon. That marked a shift in the way that the beers would go on to be released and solidified the burgeoning annual tradition.
For 2017’s Zwanze blend, Cantillon owner van Roy enlisted the help of his youngest son to choose the unique ingredient.
“My youngest son, Sylvain, will be 18 come October. As we did for his older brother, Florian, I wanted to celebrate this milestone by dedicating a beer to him. And what better beer than the Zwanze,” said van Roy in a Facebook announcement. “I wanted to involve Sylvain in choosing the beer, and when I asked him what blend we could make. He told me : ‘I love iced tea, could we try a blend with tea?’.”
The brewery ended up deciding to go with an Oolong tea and says the resulting beer is delicate and round, with notes of fruit and slight bitterness. You’ll notice a familiar theme that was chosen for the beer’s artwork. That’s because Zylvan is a Game of Thrones fanatic and, as the brewery did for van Roy’s eldest son, this beer is dedicated to the youngest, who will turn 18 this year.
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Zwanze Day will take place this year on September 23rd, and the Zwanze Lambic will be released in 18 countries (appropriately).