A few weeks ago I rang up mum in Wellington and asked her pick me up a Smokin’ Bishop from Regional Wines.
“And while you’re there,” I said, “could you get me a Russian River Consecration?”
I didn’t know then that I was asking mum to get me a $30 bottle of beer, so it’s probably just as well they didn’t have it. Staff member Kieran (who is Regional’s beer specialist) picked this one as an alternative, and also suggested a bunch of other beers for me to try. Tonight I came over to Waiheke (where mum has just moved) and finally got my hands on them. They all look awesome!
I know a few mad bastards who are into sour beers (including my dad who is a Geuze freak), so I was quite keen to try one for myself. This one’s a lambic, a style which Google tells me is spontaneously fermented with the wild yeast and bacteria that occurs in the southwest of Brussels, and this particular style – a Kriek – is fermented with cherries.
It seemed appropriate that I should pop my “sour beer cherry” – so to speak – with a bottle that had both a cap and a cork on it. These things shouldn’t be rushed into, I suppose.
As you can see it poured a spectacular shade of cranberry, and had a girly marshmallow pink head.
The aroma was interesting – musty like an antique shop, with very light notes of tart cherry and no sign of sweetness. It actually reminded me heaps of the cider my dad makes.
The taste was… Incredible! My saliva glands instantly exploded at the mouth-puckering sourness of it, which lasted for a moment before calming to a light acidity. Then there was the flavour and a slight hint of sweetness from the cherries, that same musty character, and a sour, dry finish. It was like no beer I’d ever had before, and if I’d tasted it blind I’m not sure I’d even know it was a beer.
I have no idea how the Cantillon Kriek compares with other sour beers, but it was an excellent introduction and I’m looking forward to drinking more. I’d still really like to try the Russian River Consecration and Supplication, so if anyone wants to buy me an early Christmas present you can get them here 😉
Almost as astonishing as this beer is the fact that Ireland just beat Australia in the rugby. Might have to be a Guinness tomorrow!