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Belle-Vue's Tun and Cherry
Member Name: proxam
Date: 07/03/04, updated on 30/12/11 (83 review reads)
Advantages: Light, tasty and refreshing
Disadvantages: Can't drink too many
A beer's not just for Christmas, and hopefully, neither is this category.
I don't know whether or not it has a beautiful view, but the BELLE VUE brewery in Molenbeek has been all but swallowed up by the urban sprawl of Brussels. The brewery dates from 1913, but was taken over by the giant Interbrew group in 1991.
They brew a few different beers, but their most famous is a lambic called BELLE-VUE KRIEK.
* THE STYLE *
Lambics are unique to Belgium. Unmalted wheat is fermented with wild yeasts (originally, all beers were fermented this way). The main brewers of lambic beers are dotted around Brussels where the style first originated in the valley of the Zenne River, in the area of the town of Lembeek.
The basic Lambic Beer has a winey, or possibly sour flavour. It's usually quite sharp, but also dry.
The sharpness is often moderated with the addition of fruit - in this case black cherries, or Kriek in Flemish.
A woman sends her husband out to buy some escargot for a dinner party that night. Instead of going straight to the store, the husband decides to stop at a local bar. He has a few beers, and then some more, and pretty soon he looks at his watch and finds he's over an hour late for the dinner party. He dashes to the store, picks up the escargot, and frantically heads home.
When he walks in the door, he's greeted with his wife demanding from the kitchen, "What took you so long?"
So, throwing the snails on the floor as his wife enters the hall, he says, " Aw c'mon guys, we're nearly there!"
Back to the beer.....
"Belle-Vue Kriek is made by macerating fresh cherries in the lambic, which gives a burgundy hue and a refreshingly fruity taste to the beer."
BELLE-VUE KRIEK pours a hazy, auburn-red colour with a large, pink frothy head that lasts well and rings the glass with lots of lace as you drink.
The aroma is reminiscent of cherryade, with sour cherries and sherberty sugar being dominant. There's a little malt in the background, but it's very faint. There's also a faint oaky, musty tone.
It has a lively mouthfeel due to quite a high level of carbonation. The taste is, not surprisingly, all about cherries - sweet up front, then turning darker and sourer in the middle before a dry, bitter finish. The musty, yeast flavour is rather winey in character and there are hints at a blackcurrant like fruitiness. It's fairly complex, with hints of oak and a metallic edge, although it's a little sweeter than other beers of its kind.
* THE VERDICT *
At 5.2% ABV, this is maybe not the best kriek beer around, but it's still a fine example. I would say it's sweeter, and a little bit more 'mass-produced' than many of its counterparts, but it doesn't lack any complexity for that. It's very refreshing and an ideal beer to sip on a summer's evening.
It's not a beer that you would consume by the six-pack, an occasional bottle would probably be fine. Likewise, it's not really a great beer to accompany food, although it's not bad as a dessert beer.
This is a style of beer that surprises many non-beer-drinkers as they expect a more malty and hoppy experie
nce - which this isn't. What it is, is tasty, light, and very nice.
Safeway sell a 375ml bootle with a champagne style cork for around £1.50.
Would I drink it again? - Oui, mon cherie.
Thanks for reading,
Summary: BELLE-VUE KRIEK
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