Monday, 26 October 2009

Introductory Fruit Lambics

Supermarket's aren't hugely renowned for their selection of quality beers, we all know that. They're getting better, I'll give that to them, but they still have a way to go. So when I spotted these two in Asda I picked them up since they were priced at £1.64 (Framboise) and £1.52 (Kriek). I figured that they'd make fair dessert beers if nothing else. What I didn't consider was how I would get them home. Taking your motorbike shopping isn't the most practical method for transporting anything, let alone beer. But when these things take your fancy, what's a beer geek to do? Thankfully, these two come nicely capped & corked, so the journey home in my jacket pockets didn't end with an explosion of faux vital fluids. In the fridge they went when I got home with a sidenote to take caution when opening.

The Kriek & Framboise weigh in at 3.5% and 2.5% respectively, so they aren't heavy hitters in terms of knockout power. Humour me a minute and let me continue with my pseudo pugilist terminolgy. They're more super flyweights; jabbing, ducking and diving (but they avoid the wheelin' & dealin') in terms of alcoholic presence, however they certainly pack plenty of flavour.

They both pour a similar dark reddy pink with creamy light pink heads (minds out the gutter people) and are pretty generous with the amount of fruit flavour on offer. Cherry/raspberry aromas dominate the nose and you'll struggle to find much more there. Flavour-wise, they lack variety and it's a gustatory salvo of sweetness with just a hint of sourness, which fails to balance the predominant sugar barrage.

Overall, neither are bad beers. Sure, they're not exceptional, but I wouldn't turn them down if offered to me. At the same time I won't be buying them again as they're far too relentless with their sweetness; too many of these and I'll be one of the youngest denture applicants on record.

Fruit beers, sour beers, fruit lambics et al. aren't my speciality (not that I have one at all) so these two were nice as an introduction and you should read these comments accordingly. After each sip I just wanted - craved even - some sourness. Just more tartness would have possibly opened them up and given them more dimension.

When looking at the labels, they do note that additional sugars and sweeteners are used. Perhaps this was necessary, but it's a little too overboard for me. They both sip well in small amounts, though the Framboise pips the Kriek at the post in my opinion.

As far as fruit lambics go, or anything similar for that matter - unblended, geuze, sours or general fruit beers - what would you recommend for my next step? I have a bottle of Girardin Black Label that I've been delaying opening since it'd be my first foray into geuze and I wouldn't want not to fully appreciate it. So recommendations for entry level stuff?

Post scriptum. My girlfriend is adamant that I'll never find a beer that she will like. With these, I beg to differ.

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