Nino Bacelle and Guido De Vos, the De Ranke brewers, have been working on their concept of a classic Kriekenbier, or cherry beer, for years. (In Flemish, ?kriek? is the word for a sour cherry.) Their earlier concoctions of fresh cherries (Schaarbeek cherries) steeped in their own strong Flemish ale was good, but never quite good enough. Then, about a year ago, Guido ? a great fan of Belgian lambic beers ? hit upon the perfect solution. A dose of wild-yeast-fermented lambic beer from the Girardin?s brewery was the magic ingredient. The touch of lambic gave the complexity and dryness that Nino and Guido were looking for. This Kriek has as its base a classic golden ale. Fresh whole cherries ? without the sugar or syrup that so many other breweries use in their fruit beers ? are added right into the fermenting tank, and left to dissolve and ferment for at least six months. The lambic, added toward the end of the process, makes up about 10% of the mixture. The result is simply splendid ? a very dry, very fruity beer, radiantly ruby-colored, that has only a hint of sweetness. It is perfectly refreshing, yet possesses depth and complexity to please the most discriminating connoisseur of Belgian beers. Beautiful, poised, and sophisticated. This may well be Belgium?s greatest Kriek. It is certainly the rarest. About 1500 bottles are made per year. You will savor every precious drop.
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