When a conversation opens with “Do you like seriously stinky beers?” you know it’s going somewhere. I am not one to shy away from a little brett on a wine be it a stinky Syrah or pungent Pinot Noir. Two sour style beers were produced: a saison and a kriek.
Deep down the rabbit hole of craft beers is the particular niche of sours. These flemish style beers are not for everyone. Their flavor profile is unique and distinctive. These beers could not have been more different.
The New Belgian Brewing Co. French Oak Saison is a full bodied golden ale with deep smooth flavors of roasted hops, malt, coriander, mango, and toasted lemon peel. It has a long citrus finish with a rich mouthfeel. The kind of beer to kick back in the hammock to watch the hot summer sun dip below the horizon.
Nothing can quite prepare your palate for that first sip of the Double Mountain Kriek. There is a lactic kick that is equivalent to a polar plunge. Your palate is now awake and curious. This beer is different. Most krieks have a blush color from the cherries used in production. This one uses Rainier cherries as it’s main ingredient. The color is a more golden hue. The beer is lactic, sour, and bracing on the first sip. As it opens up this adds to its complexity. It has a round palate where the fruit notes dominate that balances out the rich sour finish.
Both beers would pair easily with the spring and summer dishes from the Pacific Northwest. Salmon will be running soon. The kriek in particular would be well suited to be served alongside roasted sockeye with a wild watercress salad and cherry gastrique. The saison would be a nice match for a plank grilled king salmon, roasted potatoes, and ratatouille.