The great discovery of Lambic
Lambic is the very first style of beer, invented by human kind probably over 30,000 years ago. Lambic means that the beer is spontaneously fermented, which means that the brewer did not add any yeast to ferment the sugars into alcohol. Wild yeast, that floats around in the air, infects the cooked grain, which is exposed to the open air for about 24 hours. These yeasts battle amongst themselves fiercely for the sugars. Lambic is not an Ale or a Lager, since in these two main categories of beer, yeast is added by the brewer. The three words, Lambic, Ale and Lager, identify the only three groups of beer. These three words can never be together on a beer label.
One of our lady ancestors, thousands of years ago, forgot for a couple of days a pot of collected grains, maybe milled. The pot must have been left behind in the rain. A few days later, when she found the pot, she noticed probably some foam, tasted the liquid, got a kick out of it, and found the solution to bring her husband home. Great discoveries are always made by accident.
The only place in the Western civilized world where such spontaneous fermented beers are still made, uninterrupted since the pre-history, is in Belgium. A mix of unmalted wheat and barley malt is milled and cooked, and then exposed to the open air in huge undeep vessels. After about 24 hours the liquid is stored in oak casks where it ages during the fermentation process for several years.
A Kriek Lambic is created by adding mashed cherries into Lambic and storing it away again. The dormant wild yeast of the Lambic, are surprised by the new fruity sugars and have a fermentation blast for a couple of months, and sometimes longer. The end result is a unique very fruity beverage that we can call beer, since it is made from grain.