Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Reconsidering Transatlantique Kriek

New Belgium Brewing threw a sour ale symposium (really, just a party with a lot of beer geeks) on Friday for the 2013 release of La Folie, a sour brown ale that is one of Colorado's finest beers. Strangely, however, many in the crowd were talking about something else on the menu that night.

Transaltantique Kriek was an experiment that first took life in 2003 - a collaboration with Frank Boon's brewery of Belgium in which the beer aged for two years in Europe before landing in Fort Collins for finishing touches. It was original. It was creative .... And the first try produced a cherry ale more sweet than tart and just a bit syrupy. It wasn't a bad beer, but it just didn't live up to the hype.

Flash-forward 10 years, and there is something distinctly different about the newest version of the beer. It still has that same cherry-soda-red body and fruit-friendly nose. But after an initial rush of sweet across your tongue, a bold, sharp, almost acidic body takes hold. And here you feel its power.

If La Folie remains the heavyweight sour of Colorado - a beer you can't put in your mouth without shaking your head and rolling it over your tongue - Transatlantique Kriek is the upstart contender. It is an entrancingly friendly cherry beer that gives you just enough of a kick to know it's barrel-aged and very serious about its flavor.

And if you can show up to a party - er, symposium - with 400 of your closest friends and learn just one thing, a surprising new find about a decade-old beer is a nice thing for that to be.


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