Iris is a unique beer for Cantillon, because it uses 100% barley malt. Cantillon’s lambics, and lambics in general, are made up of a mixture of barley malt and wheat. Another unique feature of Iris is the use of fresh dried hops for dry-hopping the beer. Lambics use hops for their more ancient use in beer – their antibacterial quality. Modern processes negate this need but lambics, being fermented openly with airborne yeasts in a largely uncontrolled manner, still benefit greatly from a healthy dose of hops to help prevent spoilage. Older hops are used as they allow a higher quantity to be used without overdoing the flavour. Iris, however is dry hopped (happens towards the end of the brewing process) with fresh hops for a more pronounced bitterness. Iris does have many of the classic Cantillon features though: it is spontaneously fermented, bottle conditioned, and oak aged for two years.
A: Iris appears a reddish gold, or an orange amber. The head is small but fizzley, and crackles and pops its way into disappearance within a few seconds.
S: There is tart apple, plenty of funkiness and sourness, and lemon citrus.
T: Funky, sort of musty malt character, pretty light on the malts and with a citrus (lemon, and orange) hop kick that offers up some bitterness that really works in conjunction with the oak flavours imparted in the beer. Finishes dry with an apple cider vinegar quality.
M: Gentle, fine carbonation and a light and crisp feel.
O: It is an interesting and very enjoyable beer, both unique and familiar at the same time.