It is with great pleasure that I mark this halfway point in my reviews AND my final day of 100 Barrel-Aged Beers in 30 days, with one of my favorite Belgian styles, the mighty Kriek, and those lovely Craft beers made with cherries:
Cantillon Kriek 100% Lambic Bio, 5% ABV: THIS beer is why I am a freak for Kriek. Stunning in its perfect balance between cherry fruitiness and the funk of a barnyard and the wild fields beyond. A present, but not overwhelming oak presence bears out the artisanship of this beer. If it sounds like I am singing the praises of Cantillon, it's because I am.
New Glarus Bourbon Barrel-Aged Kriek, 5.5% ABV: Wonderfully impressed with this beer, and honored to have received one two years ago! (which I have faithfully been aging in the beer cellar) So lovely I wanted to drink it in a champagne flute. That is how I most like to enjoy a Kriek. It's something pretty special I believe, so rightfully, it deserves my finest glassware.
Intense notes of dark cherries and kirsch, with vanilla, oak, and sweet bourbon following close behind. Sweet with a mellow tartness, quite smooth, and dangerously drinkable, particularly at that low ABV. A perfect dessert beer, this would pair beautifully with a fruit cobbler or tart and a variety of chocolate indulgences.
The Bruery Sans Pagaie, 5.8% ABV: While not technically called a Kriek, this mouth-puckering sour is made with ALOT of cherries. Added to a blonde ale, these little red bombs of sweet tartness add a lovely and distinct fruitiness and a pretty pink color to boot. Add to that oak, hay, and the fun in funkiness. Enjoyed alongside the Cantillon, it was interesting and entirely educational study in a Kriek classic and the new vanguard.
Arcadia Ales XV: Again, not a Kriek. In fact, this beer is a brown ale with cherries added. 30 pounds of Michigan cherries to be exact! I wanted to include it here to show the range of styles that can benefit from the beloved berry. Made to commemorate Arcadia's 15th anniversary, alongside 15, also made with cherries, but aged in bourbon barrels. Aged in wine barrels, XV shows notes of caramel, flaky cherry cobbler, oak, and a pleasant tartness. An appealing combination, indeed. Happy Anniversary Arcadia!