Beer Review: PFRIEM FLANDERS RED KRIEK

Beer Review: PFRIEM FLANDERS RED KRIEK

The presentation of pFriem’s Flanders Red Kriek is undeniably striking. The brewery’s label and design language, which I find particularly appealing in the craft beer scene, exude regality and sophistication. The Kriek, with its red lower half on the label, stands out among pFriem’s barrel-aged sours. Pouring it into wine stemware reveals a clear orangish-amber hue with a modest beige foam. While the head formation may not be massive by general standards, it impressively holds its own for a sour ale.

Aroma

Upon raising the glass, the Flanders Red Kriek emanates a potent aroma that unmistakably screams cherry. It precisely captures the essence of cherries that have undergone refermentation in oak barrels. For enthusiasts familiar with Cantillon Kriek, this version from pFriem delivers that recognizable aroma. The nose is dominated by sharp phenols and intense cherry skins, accompanied by an almost medicinal quality, characteristic of a well-crafted kriek.

Taste

With each sip, the flavor profile aligns with authentic Belgian kriek. The carbonation is notably high, creating a lively and refreshing experience with bubbles dancing around the palate. The cherry skins and tannic oak barrel contribute a spicy, numbing flavor that harmonizes with the intense phenols. Noteworthy is the tangy and leathery character, displaying a well-mannered complexity. What sets pFriem’s Kriek apart is its judicious modulation of overall acidity. Unlike many American and even some Belgian counterparts, this offering maintains a modest 6/10 acidity level, achieved through a clean mix of lactic acid. Notably absent is acetic acid (vinegar), a pleasant departure from expectations for Flanders-style dark sours.

Mouthfeel

The mouthfeel of pFriem’s Flanders Red Kriek is characterized by a vibrant effervescence. The high carbonation imparts a lively quality, complementing the tanginess and spicy notes. The cherry skins and tannins from the oak barrel contribute to a nuanced mouthfeel, creating a delightful interplay of flavors that linger on the palate.

Overall

Despite defying the typical red or pink color associated with krieks, pFriem’s Flanders Red Kriek proves to be a triumph. The absence of the hot pink foam does not detract from the beer’s overall excellence. It may be attributed to the Royal Anne cherries, their quantity, or the duration of barrel aging. Regardless, pFriem has masterfully crafted an authentic fruited lambic, a feat that is both challenging and commendable. In my opinion, this beer stands as a phenomenal achievement in the realm of craft brewing.