It's a difficult decision, picking out beer you want somebody else to buy you for your birthday, but then, I do lead a slovenly downward slope of a life. For this year I picked two from Cantillon, having craved something from them since my last fix in the brewery last year.
First is the Gueuze 100% Lambic Bio, a name that truly gets the message across. Utterly predictable is the pissy, straw appearance and gentle farmy sourness on the nose. It's sharp and acidic with a little flash of citrus, but otherwise does nothing to shock the nostrils. Similarly controlled is the taste, which opens with the same wheaty, bready sourness but fadrs quickly to a lingering near-sweetness and a waxy bitterness. It's grainy and gutsy and refreshing, and is eminently drinkable. This is the beer I wish I had when approaching sour beer styles for the first time, as opposed to the balsamic shock that is Rodenbach Grand Cru.
Rosé de Gambrinus, with its quite weird and slightly disturbing label, is just as round and approachable as the above - perhaps even more so thanks to the addition of raspberries which show themselves right from the beginning. Softly sweet fruit can be found amid the sour grainy smack, as well a distinct vinous quality that suggests a more pertinent sourness to taste. In truth, it's not going to shock the palate any more than the gueuze in terms of its sour impact, but what you get is an incredibly intense - and utterly delicious - symphony of sour berries, nutty malts and prickly wheat fullness. Fantastic.
That's two recommendations, as if you needed them for Cantillon.