Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Brouwerij Drie Fonteinen - Oude Kriek

Alright, I think it's time we got back to some good beer. Enough with Anheuser Busch's strange, fruit beer-like abominations. Let's take a moment to check out a beer from a place where the best fruit beer in the world comes from- Belgium. If you ask a group of beer geeks which brewery makes the best fruit beers, it's likely that they won't be able to agree on an answer. However, it's also likely that you'll hear the breweries Cantillon and Drie Fonteinen come up a lot in the conversation. The brewers at Cantillon and Drie Fonteinen are remarkably good at lambics, geuzes, and fruit beers and when their beers do end up on shelves around here, they tend to go very quickly. Luckily, there have been a good number of Drie Fonteinen beers hitting shelves in San Diego recently and I was able to pick up a beer I've been wanting to try for a while- Oude Kriek.

Oude Kriek is a fruit lambic brewed with cherries. According to ratebeer.com, the brewers allow whole cherries to ripen in young lambic for between 6 and 8 months. Then the beer is left to spontaneously ferment for another 4 months before it is ready to drink. Drie Fonteinen makes another version of Oude Kriek that only uses a type of cherry called Schaerbeekse, which is wild growing in Belgium and widely regarded as the perfect cherry to use in lambics. That bottle tends to be a bit more expensive, so I'm waiting for a special occasion to open that one up.

Oude Kriek pours a deep ruby color that really reminded me of pinot noir. The head was pretty much nonexistent, but that didn't really bother me because I couldn't get over how beautiful the color of this beer was. The smell is a rich blend of sour cherries and oak, with some sweet raspberry jam notes emerging as the beer warms. I definitely got a bit of a vinous character as well.

The taste opens with a nice snap of sour cherries and lactic tartness. A touch of unripe raspberry makes an appearance in the middle before a rich, jammy sweetness takes over. The finish dries out a bit and leaves hints of lemon and some tannins. If you're looking for a great fruit beer (or for a beer that will convert your wine-loving friends from the dark side), you really need look no further than Oude Kriek. I'm really looking forward to trying more from Drie Fonteinen soon.

Final Grade: A

Top 100 Beers Tasted: 38

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