Transatlantique Kriek (New Belgium Brewing)

Welcome to the first day of September’s THEME WEEK!  This month we’re trying ales from Fort Collins, Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing Company.  Day 1’s brew: Transatlantique Kriek.

Transatlantique Kriek was part of New Belgium’s Lips of Faith series (sadly, it’s no longer brewed).  This spontaneously fermented lambic ale has an 8% ABV.

This authentic kriek beer began life in the oaken vessels at Frank Boon’s brewery in the Lembeek region of Belgium.  After more than two years aging, Boon’s offering shipped across the Atlantic and found its way to the intuitive palate of New Belgium’s Brewmaster Peter Bouckaert.  After much sampling and internal consultation, Peter and his brew staff created a full-bodied golden lager to round out the light-bodied kriek.

The cherry nose gives way to a pleasingly sour flash across the palate that rolls gently into a slightly sweet finish.  Crisp, effervescent carbonation keeps the mouthfeel bright and delightfully tingly.

Transatlantique pours a deep red with a maroon layer that resides just beneath the foam.  The head starts out as an inch of red cream soda-like foam.  It quickly subsides into a beige circle that rings the glass.  Splashes of foam remain on the side of the glass for the duration of the drinking experience.

My first thought when sniffing this beer was cooking sherry.  But after a few more sniffs I detected cherries, oak and vanilla notes.  Pretty much what I expected from this style of beer.

This is a tart beer, but surprisingly one that’s not that sour.  The cooking sherry similarities recur in the taste, but in a good way.  The cherry flavor is definitely present, but doesn’t overpower the senses. Vanilla notes appear as the beer nears room temperature.

Drinking this beer reminded me of the cherries that come from a can (and are doused in syrup).  The mouthfeel is syrupy, but light.  With an airiness that only slightly dries.

Transatlantique Kriek is a unique (for New Belgium) and flavorful beer.  Not the type of drink to be consumed on a daily basis, but it’s nice to enjoy on a peaceful Saturday evening.  A tasty and pleasant beer drinking experience.

Overall: 8.5 out of 10

As a LAMBIC: 8 out of 10

FOR FANS OF: Lindemans KRIEK, Cantillon KRIEK 100% LAMBIC, New Glarus WISCONSIN BELGIAN RED

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