Whenever I see posts like this I end up typing a huge response full of my own tome theories and questions. Then I delete it. IDK. Maybe I don't want to know and just keep on buying new tomes and wondering. Anyways, ISO of Fantome bottles from that golden era that stakem always refers to (would love to taste that elusive house character). And by ISO I mean someone that'd share one w me. Can bring lambic, natrual wine, morels, or whatever the fuck Fantome people are into these days.So there are 2 threads on this site dedicated to talking about all things Fantome but I dont expect anyone to go back and read 6 years worth of discussion. I’ll try and give you the cliff notes version. Imagine if you will, a site such as lambic.info stuffed to the gills with information except only dedicated to Fantome and every single thing you read may.... or may not be 100% true.
Fantome has never had “consistency.” That is largely the part of the mystery and lure that surrounds it. You can buy a bottle a classic or surlie Saison every time you see it and it will rarely be the same. While seemingly every other brewer/brewery that exists needs to have consistency in their product, Fantome thrives on the laid back, dont take anything too serious mentality. Dany has not changed much in 30 years. I think lambic blenders/brewers are almost the only other people who can say the same. But regarding consistency, not just batch to batch and bottle to bottle but even the same bottle will change from your first pour out the bottle to last as you let it warm up and the mystery from the dregs gets incorporated into your additional pours.
If you wanna dig deep and go way back. There is a strong case to make that Dany use to reuse bottles wherever he could get them from in order to save money and just get his juice out the door. These bottles were not thoroughly sanitized and despite what he put into them, they drastically changed with the influence of what was residing in those bottles and it truly turned the liquid into something magical. Some people say he reused lambic bottles and im not gonna argue because ive had old bottles that tasted way more like lambic than saison.
Of all the beer ive drank in my life, Fantome saison in the era of late 90’s through about 2010ish was hands down some of the greatest beer i ever experienced. Beer from this period sometimes displays a strong “house” character that is immediately and uniquely identifiable as Fantome. I dont know what it is exactly but I always considered it to be either a wild bacteria he had or some unique mutation of brett he had lurking in his equipment or yeast culture. Anyway, the last time ive tasted that house character was from a bottle circa 2014 and I no longer know if its even in his beer as he has modernized a bit with new equipment and some outside forces/people have talked him into “cleaning up.” I can honestly say, most of his beers today taste like clean, classic and typical saisons without the house addition but I keep buying every new thing that comes out with the hopes ill have a “THERE IT IS AGAIN!” moment whether it be a freshly bought bottle or one I buy now and open in 5-6 years, I pray it will come back. And until that day I will cherish every last ounce in every bottle I have tucked away from the golden period.