Beer: Kriek – Zure van Tildonk
Brewery: Brouwerij Hof ten Dormaal (Tildonk, Belgium)
Style: Sour – Fruited
6.5% ABV / N/A IBU
Hello, daddy. Hello, mom. This kriek is your ch-ch-ch-cherry bomb. Belgian brewery Hof Ten Dormaal’s version of this traditionally Belgian style hits all of the right notes, with copious amounts of sour cherry juice balancing out an equally tart and appealing lambic base. Start with good quality macerated sour cherries and a lambic that’s been aged a bit in an oak foeder and you’ve got a kriek, aka the cherry version of a fruited lambic. The other necessary element is time, specifically enough time for two stages of fermentation, before and after adding the fruit pulp.
There are no set rules for the ratio of fruit juice to lambic in any fruited lambic, but it should ultimately favor the lambic. You want to be able to experience the lactic sourness from the wild yeast strains traditionally used for lambics. This kriek is about one part sour cherries to two parts lambic and it’s really perfect in capturing both sides. It is also a gorgeous beer, with no occlusion or sediment (a stylistic choice, but not required) and an amazing deep red color.
This is also more complex that your average sour beer, possibly because there are two competing sources of sourness: the natural sourness of the cherries, plus the yeast-enhanced sour of the lambic. Kriek – Zure van Tildonk makes the tip of your tongue tingle and clings to the top of your palette. There is a hint of spiciness (probably from the oaking) on the nose, but no true heat, yet drinking it completely opens up your sinuses. It’s also worth noting that the yeast strain and sour cherries are locally sourced from a village in Belgium—it’s an experience you’re unlikely to get anywhere else.
For more info, check out Brouwerij Hof ten Dormaal here.