Lindemans Kriek

When it comes to beers, I like brews that are traditional yet unusual. Luckily, history is filled with traditions that seem strange to us. In ancient times, it was common practice to make a beer by mashing together the right ingredients and leaving the resulting soup open to the air. Compared to today’s practice of sterilizing every single piece of equipment used in beermaking, this seems like a bizarre thing to do. In the past, however, you could not buy yeast in little envelopes… you had to make do with your environment. Amazingly, yeast spores are everywhere, and it’s only a matter of time before your sugary soup turns into a breeding pool for Saccharomyces cerevisiae, our favourite microorganism.

Many cultures believed that the spirits had to blow life into the sugary soup, and once that happened, it would ferment into a tasty and nutritious beverage. They weren’t very far off. Replace spirits with wind, and think of fungi as life forms, and you could say they were on to something. Thanks to the microscope, we now have countless images of our favourite Saccharomyces species, and a fairly thorough understanding of how it makes its (pun alert) daily bread. This microcsopic fungus has two growth forms. It can grow as threads (like the soil fungi we’re so accustomed with), or it can grow in its budding form, which looks like little spheres that duplicate and snap off one another, colonizing liquid media at astonishing speeds. Over time, we have selectively bred yeast strains, just as we’ve bred big, juicy lettuces, to suit our needs and peculiarities. And just like there are wild lettuces in the wild, there are wild yeasts all around us, full of untamed brilliance.

Lindeman’s Lambic Kriek is made by taking a pure lambic beer (a beer made with spontaneous fermentation) of approximately six months, and then adding the pure juice of Schaerbeekse Cherries (a cherry chosen for its fruitiness and perfect about of sourness). The mix is left to ferment for up to a year more, resulting an a mouth-watering, amazing beverage that is quite the treat for sour cherry lovers.

The only other kriek I’ve had is Nickelbrook’s sour cherry kriek, which was also really good, very opaque and delicious. Unlike Nickelbrook’s kriek, this beer is very translucent, and a beautiful ruby red colour. The pleasantly sour notes that accompany this beer make you salivate like a dog— a feature not really found in Nickelbrook’s beer. My prognosis? Nickelbrook still has a long way to go before making a kriek of this calibre.

Note that this beer protects its delicious innards with both a cap AND a cork. You will need a whole arsenal of tools to get this beer into your belly. This is the first time I’ve seen this, but I completely understand. If you were this delicious, wouldn’t you be just as careful?

4.5 Paul Westerberg heads, without a doubt.

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4 Responses

  1. Woah, that looks completely insane. I have never seen a beer that resembles juice that much in appearance. Do you know if the cherry juice is added to the beer upon fermentation, or if the cherries themselves are somehow involved in the whole converstion from sugar to alcohol? I have had some cherry flavoured beers before, but I hope a beer of this calibre, as you put it, would not be watered down with cherry juice but have had cherries encorporated into the chemical balette which is fermentation.

  2. “Lindeman’s Lambic Kriek is made by taking a pure lambic beer (a beer made with spontaneous fermentation) of approximately six months, and then adding the pure juice of Schaerbeekse Cherries (a cherry chosen for its fruitiness and perfect about of sourness). The mix is left to ferment for up to a year more, resulting an a mouth-watering, amazing beverage that is quite the treat for sour cherry lovers.”

    Essentially, it is fermented, then the cherry juice is added, and it is fermented once more 😀

  3. Ah yes, sounds delicious.

    It’s interesting that the fungi enjoy “snapping off” one another. 😉

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