Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Kriek Tuesday 1

It’s finally here! I suppose I got a bit off my game for a week and didn’t get this ball rolling like I should have. But it’s here now, and we’re going to celebrate!

First Kriek to the table: Samuel Adams Barrel Room Collection, American Kriek.

 An ale aged on oak, with Balaton Cherries and weighing in at 7% ABV, I think this could be good!

American Kriek pours fairly effervescent and with a nice pink creamy head that, as expected, turned rocky and fell in a matter of moments.

Color is that of a strong iced tea. Missing the pink color that I associate with some Kriek beers.

Aroma from the bottle and glass while I was shooting the photographs was amazing! Grains and maraschino cherry dominated with a stale sour sort of note that reminded me of a bar.

In the glass, the grain aroma has disappeared, as has most of the cherry aroma. That’s too bad! But what is left is not unpleasant. Mild dried fruit and a crisp tartness give way to, well, actually noting. That’s it.

Initial taste reveals more of the dried fruit. Almost like a mixed berry fruit strip from Safeway. Very light mouthfeel and very little tartness.

The finish is introduced with a muddy “Dish Water” flavor that ends in the most cherry you’ll find in this beer... And it isn’t much. I would call the flavor more Pomegranate and white grape than cherry... Sweet OR tart!

As I continue to drink, the sour character all but completely disappears as my mouth adjusts, and I’m basically left with a very light bodied indiscernible fruit beer that’s really light on fruit. The good news, is that as the beer warms, a wheat like flavor starts to appear and add some complexity.

By the time I hit the bottom of the first pour, the beer has let go of every shred of carbonation, and I’m
basically left with a mildly grainy version of a juice wine I once made from Welches.

Pour number two got a pinch of salt! Who the hell puts salt in their beer? Anyone looking for that last bit of flavor from an American Kriek I’d guess!
It helped... A little. The salt helped to bring out a little of the tartness, but I’m left wanting more.

I want this beer to have a serious lactic sour, or a big Brett character, and it’s not there! I want it to have a nice solid vanilla from the oak aging, and that’s not there either.  I want this beer to have enough cherry that I know it’s a Kriek.

If I got this beer blind, I doubt I’d identify it as a Kriek. A tart Wheat beer with some sort of fruit... But not a Kriek!

I wouldn’t recommend this beer to any lovers of the style, but I won’t say you shouldn’t buy it either.

For me it’s just OK... But barely!

If you’re just looking for something different and you’ve not had a Kriek before, this may be a fair introduction. There certainly isn’t much there to offend anyone's palate, and it’s pretty well available in big liquor stores. But I seriously doubt you’ll be finding one in my shopping cart any time soon.


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