I admit it—when it comes to drinking, I’m a lightweight, if not a teetotaler. Yes, I can tolerate a glass or two of wine, a single serving of beer, or a completely diluted glass of vodka screwdriver (as long as I’m the one making it). But when Kookie assigned me (via Skype, no less) this long-haul task of reviewing Belgian beers, the first thing that popped in my head was “you want a non-alcoholic drinker review beers?! Seriously?!”.
So, what has a girl who doesn’t really drink, nor even enjoy drinking beer, got to do? Start with something equally lightweight as her, in this case a serving of Belle-Vue Kriek in her current-favorite Italian taverne Friday night.
Kriek means “cherry”
Yes, you’ve read the heading right, Belle-Vue Kriek is a popular brand of cherry beer. Hm, cherries and beer…how did that happen? Simply put, the beer brew gets an additional ingredient in the form of sour cherries (which may or may not be pitted) or cherry syrup before undergoing refermentation to convert the additional sugars into alcohol. So what remains is the berry taste without the sugary sweetness, which effectively masks the bitter hop aroma and sour taste of lambic beer.
I had my Kriek with my spaghetti mare e monti. The beer arrived first on the table, frosty cold and in a large goblet with the beer’s logo. And it’s a pretty brew, visually:
Taking the initial sip, I was impressed. It was sweet, but not cloying, with a subtle malt background and cherry notes blending nicely in the aroma and taste. And the bitter tang of hops was muted instead of masked. And no alcohol aftertaste. Overall, a light drink fitted for the cream-based pasta. 😀 And if I wasn’t aware that this had an alcohol content, I would have mistaken it for a soda, except for the really subtle flavors that no cola can have.
I conclude that, for lightweight drinkers like me (who cannot tolerate the bitterness of our local brands of beer), starting with only one serving of Belle-Vue Kriek is recommended.