Lindeman's Framboise

33 Wine Bar and Shop, 1913 Park Avenue, 314-231-9463

The white claw-foot tub, it is overflowing with raspberry goo, boiled with a touch of sugar and spring water, then chilled to just above freezing. Mama Nature's bounty, as red as her blood with a little flair of purple tossed in for fancy, sits before you, and you, wearing your laciest unmentionables and feeling like the magic-mirror idealized version of yourself, stand before the tub, ready to be baptized for the summer. It's getting hot in herre, so take off all your clothes. "I am getting so hot, I wanna take my clothes off," you whisper. Go for it. Slither into the raspberry-reduction bath and then just, like, chill. Dip down and take a sip at your leisure; there's plenty more where that came from, cowboy.

Is tart the best taste sensation ever created? Yes. And is the raspberry, a perfect little jewel, the purest, most hedonistic source of said flava? Hell yeah. Is Lindemans Framboise nature's greatest gift to the art of libation creation? You know it. Oh, Lindemans! -- a Belgian ale that tastes like no other beer, or liquid, out there. It's like raspberry Champagne beer, and is hands-down the Perfect Summer Drink, served in 12-ouncers that look like mini-bubbly bottles and tasting like nothing other than a raspberry wallop-upside-the-head.

Like so many great things in this crazy-like-a-fox world, Lindemans Framboise is Belgian. It's a lambic beer, and its glory is the result of both nature and nurture, the former being the regional qualities of the Senne River valley, southwest of Brussels, the latter being the craft with which Lindemans harnesses the bounty of area hops, barley, wheat and, most important, wild yeast. After creating the base wort, it is exposed to outdoor Belgian air, where free-floating strains of yeast, including Brettanomyces lambicus, parachute into the vat -- and voilà, chemistry happens. Then a dump truck unloads a bed of raspberries into the vat, and the whole thing ferments again. After that, wow.

Lafayette Square's wonderful 33 Wine Bar and Shop serves both Lindemans Framboise (French for "raspberry") and Lindemans Pêche (peach, also delicious), and you know you've hit the right spot when you walk in and the place is crowded but calm, and the stereo's playing Nina Simone's "See-Line Woman." Owner Jake Hafner will pour the nectar into a genuine Lindemans glass, and within moments you're up to your ears in raspberry, and the pesky existential qualms and baffling conundrums are overcome by an overwhelming sense of curlicue fanciness and a heavenly tart.

 
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